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Divided Turkey heads for historic referendum

Using underhanded tactics, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is campaigning to become Turkey’s sole and unencumbered leader as his supporters say this will make Turkey soar as an economic and political power.
A street vendor sells t-shirts with portraits of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a rally for the upcoming referendum in the Black Sea city of Rize, Turkey, April 3, 2017. Picture taken April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX34ZRF

Turkey is a house divided as it heads for the most critical referendum of its history April 16. At stake is the country’s parliamentary system, which has been the foundation of its secular democracy; this, in turn, for all its deficiencies and interruptions, has survived for nearly a century.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) — under the tutelage of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though he is constitutionally prohibited from engaging in party politics — seeks to turn Turkey into a presidential system unencumbered by the checks and balances seen in presidential systems in the West.

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