Hundreds of Turks gathered near the Bosporus to express their rejection of constitutional amendments granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broad powers. Sky News said more than 300 protesters had formed a symbolic human chain on the European side of the strait separating Asia from Europe.
If approved, the referendum could bring the biggest change in Turkey’s system of government since the founding of the modern republic nearly a century ago, and allow Erdogan to remain in office until 2029. Opinion polls showed Thursday a slight margin for supporters of the amendments by 51.5 percent.
Erdogan says strengthening the presidency will avoid the instability of coalition governments at a time of security threats from fundamentalist militants and Kurdish militants, but opposition opponents say it is a step towards “more dictatorship.”