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Turks vote in historic referendum

Turks vote in historic referendum

Turks vote in historic referendum

Erdogan argues that as Turkey's first president to be directly elected by the people — instead of the parliament — he has a wider mandate than previous presidents.

"A number of Western countries like interfering in the internal affairs of Russian Federation and Turkey and can not recover from this disease, which has been lasting for more than one year".

While clinching power at home, Erdogan is turning his foreign alliances on their head. Over the past several months, the president has purged more than 100,000 public officials, including judges, prosecutors, police officers, civil servants, teachers and university rectors, accusing them of being aligned with Fethullah Gulen, a preacher who was once his ally but whom he now accuses of masterminding the July coup attempt.

Opinion polls have given a narrow lead for backers of the proposal, which Erdogan has said was needed to confront Turkey's security and political challenges.

Analysts regard the referendum as a crossroads in the modern history of the country that will affect not just the shape of its political system but also its relations with the West.

The April 4 attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, blamed by many governments on the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, killed scores of people and prompted the United States to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base in response. "Power corrupted, and absolute power will corrupt more absolutely". It won 11.9 percent of the vote in the last election in 2015.

Back then, the media had more freedom to criticize the government and the judiciary had greater independence.

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When anti-government protests erupted in mid-2013, Erdogan came down hard.

Turkey has arrested or suspended more than 140,000 people since the coup attempt and has jailed the most journalists out of any country in the world. He also appealed to voters of other parties to approve the changes so that "Turkey can leap into the future". Two of the Turks were thought to have joined the ranks of Islamic State, which holds territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Yucel, a reporter with the German daily Die Welt, was initially detained after he reported on emails that a leftist hacker collective had purportedly obtained from the private account of Berat Albayrak, Turkey's energy minister and Erdogan's son-in-law.

I know I should know this by now, but what are Erdogan's politics? Many saw that as a further move against the military, which was long considered the guardian of Turkish "secularism", something Erdogan opposed. It's faultless. But I am anxious about the future after him.

For "No" campaigners, though, the amendments dismantle democracy, a view shared by the Venice Commission, which advises the leaders of 61 member states, including Turkey, on rule of law.

At a rally in Istanbul, one of four he held in the last hours before Sunday's vote, Erdogan described the constitutional proposals as the biggest change in Turkey since the country was established almost a century ago, and the culmination of the response to July's abortive putsch.

If passed, proposals like the abolition of high military courts would take effect immediately, with others enacted after elections scheduled for November 2019, unless they're called earlier.

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