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Turkey's AKP claims Kurdish support for referendum, Kurds say otherwise

As Turkey continues to roil in the aftermath of the referendum, the ruling party is now claiming the Kurds helped President Recep Tayyip Erdogan win in what Kurdish leaders call "blatant disinformation."
A supporter holds a portrait of Selahattin Demirtas, detained leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), and shows her hand scribbled with the Kurdish word for "No", during a rally for the upcoming referendum in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar - RTS12FFR

In the heated debate over Turkey’s fraud-stained referendum, one particular narrative stands out: that the country’s 16 million or so Kurds played a considerable part in swinging the outcome, albeit narrowly, toward a yes. This, in turn, has prompted hopeful murmurs of a thaw in the frozen peace talks between the government and the Kurds. But Kurdish leaders dispute this version, saying it overlooks the fact that much of the alleged cheating took part in the mainly Kurdish provinces. Veteran Turkish commentator Rusen Cakir called renewed Kurdish support for government an “urban legend.”

The claim first came from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly after the results were announced. Erdogan said, “When we consider the status of the political parties in the referendum, we observe a 10-20% increase in the southeastern provinces.”

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