President Erdoğan visits CHP’s ‘no’ campaign tent in Istanbul
ISTANBULPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid an unusual visit to a tent belonging to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) yesterday in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district, set up to promote a “no” vote ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional changes.
On his way to Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport, Erdoğan had made a brief stop to visit a stall set up as part of the “yes” campaign near
the Hacıosman metro station and also dropped in at the “no” tent nearby. He spoke to the “no” campaigners inside the tent for some 15 minutes.
Çağlar Coşkun, a local CHP official for Sarıyer, said the president had to return their tea offer as he was in a hurry, refuting some reports that claimed that they had a discussion.
“It was not a tense talk. It was humane and civil,” he said.
CHP ‘glad for visit’
Levent Gök, the deputy chair of the CHP’s parliamentary group, said he was glad that Erdoğan visited the stand, noting that it meant that he finally accepted naysayers were not “terrorists.”
The president had aruged that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the network of Fethullah Gülen, the main suspect behind a bloody coup attempt last year, were saying “no” to charter changes, calling on citizens not to be in the same camp with the “terrorists.”
Erdoğan said later in the day while addressing a crowd in Samsun that he asked CHP members in Sarıyer why they would vote “no.”
“They said they wanted a modern Turkey. And I asked them ‘Isn’t Turkey modern today? What does it lack? Don’t we have roads, bridges, fast trains and schools?’” Erdoğan said.
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to change the government system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president or to protect the current parliamentary system.
The “yes” vote is endorsed by Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition CHP and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), along with many other independent opposition groups, are campaigning for a “no” vote.