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Final day of campaigning before crucial Turkey referendum

Final day of campaigning before crucial Turkey referendum”

This allows Erdogan to fraudulently portray the referendum as a continuation of the mass popular mobilization that halted the July 15 coup, which was backed by Washington and Berlin.

Last October, the CHP voted for a resolution in the Turkish parliament extending the government's authority to launch cross-border military operations for a year. To the extent that the imperialist powers reacted by stepping up their criticisms of Ankara, however, this has largely played into Erdogan's hands.

Opinion polls - usually treated with caution in Turkey - have predicted a tight outcome tomorrow despite the considerable advantages of the "Yes" campaign in both airtime and campaign resources.

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Analysts regard the referendum as a turning point 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.

But when a group of young nationalists in Istanbul mistook some Korean tourists for Chinese and attacked them in 2015 in retaliation for Beijing's alleged abuse of its Turkic-speaking Uighur minority, he defended the mob. "Power corrupted, and absolute power will corrupt more absolutely". Right now, there is only one figure who could possibly win that share of the vote: Erdogan himself. Turkey has yet to enjoy many of those benefits, including a visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe and accelerated talks for joining the EU. The ruling party argues that the changes will remedy the current system under which the president can only be tried for treason. Within months, he'd quashed a corruption probe targeting his government by purging police and judges he accused of being sympathizers of his former ally Fethullah Gulen, an influential US -based Islamic preacher with millions of followers.

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. The Supreme Board of Election has announced that 167,140 ballot boxes will be ready for voters; another 461 boxes have also been set up in prisons. Erdogan blames Gulen for orchestrating the coup attempt.

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Security efforts have been tightened ahead of the vote, but Kurdish militants on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a police compound in southeast Turkey that killed three people. Never in recent times has Turkey, one of only two Muslim members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance, been so central to world affairs, from the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, to Europe's migrant crisis and Ankara's shifting allegiances with Moscow and Washington. The German government has repeatedly called for Yucel's immediate release.

Erdogan, who has dominated the airwaves in recent weeks with multiple daily rallies and interviews, was due to give four more speeches in Istanbul. I saw him at a recent gathering literally shaking nearly 1,000 hands.

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.

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Kilicdaroglu has accused Erdogan of seeking a "one-man regime", and said the proposed changes would put the country in danger.



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