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Congress raises specter of rupture with Turkey if referendum passes

A House panel slammed Ankara's authoritarian drift ahead of the April 16 vote.
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hold "Yes" campaign flags and "Yes" banners during a rally for the upcoming referendum in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Turkey April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX33WEX

US-Turkey relations will almost certainly suffer if Turks vote this month to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power, US lawmakers warned.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs panel on Eurasian affairs took turns at an April 5 hearing denouncing the crackdown on dissidents and journalists since last summer's failed coup. They predicted that Turkey's democracy — and by extension its relationship with the United States — will further erode if voters choose "yes" on the April 16 referendum.

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