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Turkish referendum polls put 'yes' vote slightly ahead
April 12, 2017 / 8:09 AM / 5 months ago

Turkish referendum polls put 'yes' vote slightly ahead

FILE PHOTO: A huge portrait of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is seen above a banner that reads, "This city is proud of raising a world leader" in Rize on the Black Sea coast, Turkey, April 5, 2017. Letters on the portrait read "Rize is with you". REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish opinion polls on Wednesday showed a narrow majority of Turks, between 51-52 percent, would vote “yes” in Sunday’s referendum on changing the constitution to create an executive presidency.

Voters in Turkey go to the polls on April 16 to decide whether to give Erdogan sweeping new powers. Voting for Turks living abroad finished on Sunday.

A survey by pollsters ANAR put the “yes” vote at 52 percent. Its poll was conducted face-to-face with more than 4,000 people on April 5-10 in 26 provinces. The number of undecided voters has fallen to 8 percent, it said, adding that led to a two percentage point boost for “yes” since the start of March.

Similarly, the Konsensus polling company put the “yes” vote at 51.2 percent after the distribution of undecided voters. It conducted its survey face-to-face with 2,000 people on April 2-8 in 41 provinces.

Erdogan has spent much of his recent campaign attacking the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which is spear-heading the “no” camp. He has accused its leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, of lying, language Kilicdaroglu has said is not fitting of a president.

FILE PHOTO: Pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and "Hayir" ("No") supporters attend a rally for the upcoming referendum in Istanbul, Turkey, April 8, 2017. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir/File Photo

On Tuesday, Erdogan ridiculed the opposition leader for losing the last seven elections. “The people don’t like you, they don’t embrace you. The truth is plain,” he said during a televised meeting with university students.

The referendum campaign has damaged Turkey’s ties with some European allies. Erdogan has described the banning on security grounds of some rallies by Turkish ministers in the Netherlands and Germany as “Nazi-like” tactics.

Germany has called the references unacceptable. But Erdogan has continued undeterred, repeatedly accusing Germany of harbouring members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an accusation Berlin has denied.

“Germany is currently sheltering terrorists. I say it openly. When I say they have resurrected Nazism they go crazy. Why do you go crazy? That’s what you’ve done, that’s why I say it,” Erdogan said at Tuesday night’s event.

Erdogan said this week that Turks living overseas had turned out strongly to vote, which pollsters say could benefit him.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Daren Butler and David Dolan; Editing by Dominic Evans

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