World Bulletin / News Desk
Addressing a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party rally in western Izmir province ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional reforms, Yildirim said the changes would help Turkish development.
"Since 2008 there has been a crisis in the world but Turkey is undertaking the world's biggest projects," he said, adding that 19,500 kilometers (12,100 miles) of dual carriageways had been built in the last 14 years.
"There were only six provinces linked to each other by dual carriageways, now there are 76. This is the difference made by the AK Party, this is the difference of service," he added.
"Civilization means service, it means roads," Yildirim added as the foundation for a new highway between Menemen-Aliaga-Candarli was laid.
"This work cannot be done by hiding behind Ataturk with empty words. The right way to reach the goal of Ataturk is to carry Turkey to a level of modern civilization," he added.
“The ‘road’ of the constitution is now like a village road; we need to change the constitution into a highway,” Yildirim said.
The Turkish premier said the Menemen-Aliaga-Candarli project in Izmir's north would be in service by Sept. 9, 2019.
Yildirim added that six out of 35 projects announced for Izmir had been completed and seven would continue.
The proposed constitutional changes have been discussed since Recep Tayyip Erdogan was voted president in August 2014.
An 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposal to a referendum.
The reforms would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, while the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.
Other changes would see the minimum age of parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of lawmakers rise to 600.
Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new constitution.