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In run-up to referendum, Turks can say anything but 'no'

The Turkish ruling party's campaign to push through amendments to grant the president sweeping new powers is having absurd and sobering consequences.
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a Republic Day ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, to mark the republic's anniversary as he is flanked by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) in Ankara, Turkey, October 29, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX2QXOL
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Saying no can have a high price tag for ordinary Turks as pressure builds in the days leading up to an April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments designed to widely expand the president's powers.

On Feb. 2, the photo of a supposedly official document appeared on social media with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s signature. The document asked public employees to avoid using the word “hayirli” ("blessed" or "good"), which is very close to the Turkish word for "no," "hayir." The document asked employees to refrain from using "hayirli" until May so as not to confuse or influence voters.

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