[VIDEO] Group of imams joins ‘yes’ campaign for referendum to increase Erdoğan’s powers

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 24: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) meets the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez (L) in Ankara, Turkey on July 24, 2016. AFP

A dozen imams who recorded a video in their official garb in İstanbul called on their fellow imams to vote “yes” in an April referendum on constitutional amendments that will officially bring an executive presidential system to Turkey and expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers.

Apparently recorded in a mosques in İstanbul, one of the imams asks other imams whether they will vote “yes” in the referendum and calls on imams in the Karaca Ahmet neighborhood of İstanbul to say “yes.”

For a powerful Turkey, for our future, for our [region], we also say ‘yes’ in the referendum,” he said.

On Friday Erdoğan kicked off a “yes” campaign for the referendum and called on residents of Mersin to vote in favor of the constitutional amendments that will boost his power and pave the way for a switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance.

Signaling that he would take an active role in the referendum campaign, Erdoğan asked people to go to the ballot box to vote “yes,” saying, “Is Mersin ready to blow up the ballot box as before?”

Since the Turkish Parliament approved the constitutional package on Jan. 21 and started the process of putting the amendments to a referendum, a number of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies, singers, football players and pro-Erdoğan journalists have joined the “yes” campaign for the referendum and posted videos on social media inviting their friends and people to vote in favor of the changes.

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