Turkey’s Yes/No sides target undecided in referendum sprint

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Apr 16, 2017 | 718 views

TURKEY’S top politicians made a final effort yesterday to sway undecided voters in a frenetic end to a bitterly-contested campaign in the referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

Campaigning must end at 1500 GMT but both the ‘‘Yes’’ and ‘‘No’’ camps were squeezing in a flurry of rallies as the clock ticked down to today’s landmark poll.

Analysts see the poll as a historic choice on the direction of the Nato member which will shape its future political system and determine relations with the West.

If passed, the new presidential system will implement the most radical political shake-up since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, dispensing with the office of the prime minister and centralising the entire executive bureaucracy under the presidency.

Erdogan in a late night interview with TRT state television confidently predicted victory, saying surveys showed a ‘‘Yes’’ vote of 55-60 percent.

“On Sunday I think that could be a very clear outcome in favour of ‘Yes’,’’ he said.

Opinion polls have predicted drastically different outcomes and victories for both sides. But the ruling party and presidency are widely believed to conduct their own confidential polling.

Erdogan, who has dominated the airwaves in recent weeks with multiple daily rallies and interviews, was due to give four more speeches in Istanbul.

“God willing, this nation will celebrate tomorrow evening,” he said in the first of the rallies. “Tomorrow is very important, you will definitely go to ballot box and cast your vote,” he told supporters.

— AFP

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