[VIDEO] Erdoğan kicks off ‘yes’ campaign for referendum to boost his power

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MERSIN, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 03: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attends the inauguration ceremony of hospital complex in Mersin, Turkey on February 03, 2017. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on residents of Mersin on Friday to vote in favor of an upcoming referendum in early April for a constitutional amendment that will boost his power and pave the way for a switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance.

Speaking during the inauguration of Mersin City Hospital on Friday, Erdoğan asked people to go to the ballot box to vote “yes,” saying, “Is Mersin ready to blow up the ballot box as before?”

Signaling that he would take an active role in the referendum campaign, he urged citizens to vote “yes” for the continuation of investments.

“We will make the age for candidacy 18. We will increase the number of deputies to 600 [from the current 550]. Are we ready?” he asked.

While inaugurating the hospital, which is built on a 235,000-square-meter area and will offer jobs to 5,000, Erdoğan said former US President Barack Obama wanted to introduce a smaller version of Turkey’s health system. “But [he] could not manage it. We have succeeded,” he added.

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