HDP’s referendum campaign billboards banned by court in Şanlıurfa

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A court in Turkey’s Şanlıurfa province has banned pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) billboards prepared to promote a “no” campaign for a referendum to be held on April 16, CNNTürk reported on Saturday.

According to the report, a photo of Figen Yüksekdağ, jailed co-chair of the HDP, was cited as the reason for the ban by the court.

Last week the Şırnak Governor’s Office announced that the HDP official referendum campaign song, “Bejin Na‘’ (Say No), has been banned in Şırnak for “inciting hatred and hostility among the people.”

The HDP’s campaign song was composed by Kurdish singer Şeyda Perinçek and widely used by Kurdish politicians while campaigning to persuade people to vote “no” in a critical referendum on April 16 that will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pushed through the legislation that President Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish HDP fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.

The reform will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.

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