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Turkey's AKP scrambles to contain crisis ahead of key vote

Turkey’s government has enacted a series of economic measures to woo voters ahead of a key constitutional referendum, but the threat of the economic crisis is far from over.
Supporters of the ruling AK Party wave Turkish flags during a campaign meeting for the April 16 constitutional referendum, in Ankara, Turkey, February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTS108VN
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Turkey’s domestic agenda is tied to the April 16 referendum on a set of constitutional changes, which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has designed as a steppingstone to a one-man regime under the guise of a shift to an executive presidency.

The move comes at a time when the Turkish economy has begun to contract, with some sectors, such as the manufacturing industry, already in crisis. Brought to parliament in December, the amendments fueled political tensions and added to the country’s already high-risk premium, further stoking the crisis and leading international credit-rating agencies to cut Turkey to noninvestment grade.

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