Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

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Two Turkish opinion polls today showed a narrow majority of Turks, between 51-52 per cent, would vote "yes" in Sunday's referendum on changing the constitution to create an executive presidency.

In that election the turnout was around 40 percent among expatriates, with 56 percent of those votes being cast for the AK Party, which Erdogan founded more than a decade ago.

Voters in Turkey will go to the polls on 16 April to decide on the referendum that would give Erdoğan sweeping new powers.

It was there in August previous year that he held a mass rally calling for national solidarity in the wake of the failed July coup blamed on the United States-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, and Mr Erdogan clearly wanted to capture the spirit of that day.

Mr Erdogan also prompted boos by mentioning his opponent, the leader of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who claimed last week that the failed putsch was a "controlled coup" which the government knew about in advance.

The referendum campaign has damaged Turkey's ties with some European allies.

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Speaking at a rally in Turkey's Izmir on Sunday, the president said that Europe's economy was getting worse, its population was getting older, and the "racism disease has resurged like a virus", Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

Germany angrily warned Turkey yesterday (19 March) that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone too far after he accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of using "Nazi measures" in an escalating diplomatic feud.

A huge poster of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is draped over part of a building in Istanbul on April 9, 2017. Earlier, he had described Europe as a "Nazism" and "rotting" center.

Analysts say that the outcome in Turkey's largest city Istanbul - whose diversity is fairly representative of the hugely complex country - will be critical to the result of the referendum. "This is a reform related to Turkey's future", Erdogan said.

But the push by Ankara to hold political rallies by the Turkish politicians in the European Union have been met by strong opposition, most notably by Berlin and Amsterdam after these countries have barred several political rallies. Why did they go insane?

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