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High school takes sign down for allegedly promoting ‘no’ vote in upcoming referendum

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The administration of a high school in Manisa province took down greeting signs at the entrance and exit of the school building because they included the word “hayır” – “no” in English – hinting at promoting a “no” vote an upcoming referendum that will switch the system of governance in Turkey to an executive presidency.

According to the Diken news website, signs at the entrance and exit of the Vakıfbank Türkbirliği Elementary School that were hung three years ago said “Hayırla geldiniz” and “Hayırla gidiniz.” which mean “Come with benevolence” and “Leave with benevolence,” respectively.

They were replaced with signs saying “Hoşgeldiniz – Welcome” and “Güle güle – Goodbye.”

Manisa Provincial Director of Education Recep Dernekbaş said he was not aware of the change in signs; however, he has ordered an investigation into the incident to learn who replaced them.

Since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a “yes” campaign for the referendum on April 16, several incidents have been reported by Turkish media targeting people in the “no” camp, including members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Speaking to journalists on his way back from a trip to the Gulf countries, President Erdoğan said voting “no” in the referendum would mean consenting to evil. He also earlier said that the naysayers are taking sides with the plotters of an abortive coup on July 15, 2016.

According to a Cumhuriyet daily story on Sunday, Turkish digital platform Digitürk removed the movie “No,” which tells the story of a plebiscite in Chile in 1988 on the ouster of dictator Augusto Pinochet, from its lineup.

Last week, two CHP members were verbally and physically assaulted while campaigning from door to door in İzmir. A man known only by the initials A.B., who said he was from a local branch of the AKP, accused the CHP members of trying to “undermine the state” while his son O.B. hit the two women in the back.

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