- Title: A look at Turkey's Erdogan ahead of referendum vote
- Date: 6th April 2017
- Summary: THOUSANDS OF DEMONSTRATORS GATHER ON STREETS SURROUNDING ISTANBUL'S CENTRAL TAKSIM SQUARE, WHILE PEOPLE IN ANKARA MARCH TOWARDS PARLIAMENT ON THE SECOND DAY OF PROTESTS ACROSS TURKEY ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - JUNE 1, 2013) (REUTERS) RIOT POLICE FIRING TEAR GAS PROTESTER WALKING THROUGH THE SMOKE RISING FROM THE GROUND POLICE FALLING ON THE GROUND POLICEMAN GETTING UP AND KICKING A PROTESTER ON THE GROUND RIOT POLICE IN TURKEY USE SMOKE GRENADES AS THEY PUSH THROUGH BARRICADES BLOCKING ROADS TO OCCUPIED GEZI PARK IN TAKSIM SQUARE. ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - JUNE 3, 2013) (REUTERS) POLICE FIRING SMOKE GRENADE IN GUMUSSUYU DISTRICT PROTESTERS BEHIND BARRICADE HURLING STONES PROTESTERS BEHIND BARRICADE POLICE FIRING SMOKE GRENADES SMOKE RISING TURKISH RIOT POLICE STORMED A CENTRAL ISTANBUL PARK TO EVICT HUNDREDS OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS, HOURS AFTER AN ULTIMATUM FROM PRIME MINISTER TAYYIP ERDOGAN ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - JUNE 15, 2013) (REUTERS) WATER CANNONS SPRAYING WATER WATER CANNONS SPRAYING ON PROTESTERS VARIOUS OF POLICE FIRING RUBBER BULLETS POLICE / SMOKE SMOKE GRENADES BEING FIRED NEAR PROTESTERS THOUSANDS FLOCK TO TURKISH BOY'S FUNERAL AFTER NIGHT OF PROTEST, CLASHES ERUPT IN CAPITAL TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MOURNERS CHANTING ANTI-GOVERNMENT SLOGANS MARCH THROUGH CENTRAL ISTANBUL FOR THE FUNERAL OF A TEENAGER WOUNDED IN STREET PROTESTS LAST SUMMER WHOSE DEATH HAS BROUGHT RENEWED UNREST ACROSS TURKEY ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - MARCH 12, 2014) (REUTERS) CROWD IN FRONT OF THE ALEVI RELIGIOUS CENTRE CARRYING PICTURE OF BERKIN ELVAN CROWD CHANTING AS COFFIN IS CARRIED AWAY COFFIN BEING CARRIED OUT CROWD MARCHING ON HIGHWAY
- Embargoed: 20th April 2017 19:24
- Keywords: Turkey Tayyip Erdogan referendum Fethullah Gulen coup
- Location: SEE SCRIPT BODY FOR LOCATIONS
- City: SEE SCRIPT BODY FOR LOCATIONS
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00I6BAD6IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on replacing its parliamentary system with the stronger presidency long sought by incumbent Tayyip Erdogan.
The proposed constitutional reform would mark one of the biggest changes in the European Union candidate country's system of governance since the modern republic was founded on the ashes of the Ottoman empire almost a century ago.
Erdogan assumed the presidency, currently a largely ceremonial position, in 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister with the AKP, which he co-founded. Since then, pushing his powers to the limit, he has continued to dominate politics by dint of his personal popularity and forceful personality.
Critics accuse him of increasing authoritarianism with the arrests and dismissal of tens of thousands of judges, police, military officers, journalists and academics since a failed military coup in July 2016.
Erdogan has led a crackdown on people suspected of involvement with the movement led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, which he blames for last year's failed coup.
With the constitutional overhaul, the president will be able to retain ties to a political party, potentially allowing Erdogan to resume his leadership of the AKP, a move that opposition parties say would wreck any chance of impartiality.
But, Erdogan's supporters see the plans as a guarantee of stability at a time of turmoil, with Turkey's security threatened by the wars in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and by a spate of Islamic State and Kurdish militant attacks.
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