Turkish referendum: giant turnout in Belgium

81,000 of the 137,000 Turkish nationals in Belgium who can vote in Turkey have taken part in the country's referendum that could lead to the introduction of a presidential regime with greater powers for President Erdogan. Basir Hamarat of the European Turkish Democrats says that this figure in the highest proportion in Europe.

Turks in Belgium were able to vote at the Turkish embassy in Brussels but also at the consulate in Antwerp. Voting has now ended in Belgium and sealed ballot boxes are being returned to Turkey under the scrutiny of officials from all parties. In Turkey the referendum is being staged on 16 April. If adopted the new presidential regime will hand the Turkish president extra powers including greater opportunities to dissolve parliament, declare a state of emergency and appoint ministers. Like in France the president will also head the government.

Turnout in Belgium is higher than anticipated, but the vote was marred by scenes outside the Turkish embassy on 30 March when supporters and opponents of President Erdogan clashed.