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Polls open in tightly contested Turkey referendum on Erdogan powers: AFP

AFP , Sunday 16 Apr 2017
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The first polling stations opened Sunday in Turkey's tightly contested referendum on expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen as a crossroads in the modern history of the country.

Polling stations opened in Diyarbakir and other cities of eastern Turkey at 0400 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, with voting in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities nationwide due to begin an hour later at 0500 GMT.

If passed, the new presidential system would dispense with the office of the prime minister and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the presidency, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers in the most radical political shake-up in the country's recent history.

Opinion polls, always treated with caution in Turkey, predicted wildly divergent scenarios with analysts saying the outcome remains too close to call despite the clear advantage in resources and airtime enjoyed by the 'Yes' campaign.

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