constitution referendum

Turkey says ‘No’ to saying ‘No’, ahead of its referendum

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of newly built Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus linking the city's European and Asian sides in Istanbul, Turkey, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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The BBC reporter Mark Lowen published an article on the constitutional referendum in Turkey.  

The cartoon shows a bewildered man in a voting booth, eyes bulging as he examines a ballot paper. The choices: “evet” (Yes) or “terorist” (you get the point).

It was fertile ground for Turkey’s most famous satirical magazine, Penguen: the raging debate over whether to accept or reject a constitutional change that would radically enhance President Erdogan’s powers.

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It will be put to a referendum on 16 April. Mr Erdogan and the government support a yes vote – “evet” – as reflected in the posters now springing up across Istanbul. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to say “hayir” – “no”.

In a speech this month, Mr Erdogan said those voting “no” would be “siding with the coup-plotters”, a reference to the attempted military overthrow last July.

‘Kafkaesque disappearance’

Alluding to the Kurdish militant group the PKK, he added: “The separatist terrorist organisation says ‘no’. Those siding with them say ‘no’.”

Other government officials, like the notoriously brash mayor of Ankara, tweeted that “all of the traitors say ‘no'”, adding a picture of opposition leaders and the exiled cleric the government blames for orchestrating the failed coup.

Penguen seized on the rhetoric. The message from the government is clear: you’re either with us or with the terrorists.

The demonisation of the word “no” is reaching new, seemingly absurd levels.

Read the rest of the article here

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