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Turkish PM says Gülen movement, PKK behind ‘no’ campaign for referendum

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sunday that a campaign calling on citizens to vote “no” in upcoming referendum in early April on constitutional amendments, expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s power and leading to a switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance, is being orchestrated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the faith-based Gülen movement.

Speaking during the inauguration of an urbanization project in İstanbul on Sunday, Yıldırım said “Why do we say ‘yes’? We say ‘yes’ because the PKK says ‘no.’ We say ‘yes’ because FETÖ says ‘no.’ We say ‘yes’ because the HDP [People’s Democratic Party says ‘no’.”

“FETÖ,” or Fetullahist Terrorist Organization, is a derogatory term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the Gülen movement, a global civil society movement inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Since Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others, the Turkish government and Erdoğan launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of Gülen movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in prison.

While criticizing main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for opposing constitutional amendments for calling a “regime change” in Turkey, Yıldırım said Turkey ended its regime problem in 1923 with the declaration of the Republic of Turkey.

“Wake up now, Mr. Kemal. Turkey has chosen its regime. We declared the republic in 1923. And today we are putting forward the new constitution that will further improve our republic for the consideration of our people,” he said.

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