In Supporting Erdogan, Turks Cite Economic and Religious Gains

Source: The New York Times


APRIL 17, 2017

ISTANBUL — Merve Arslan, a teacher, struggles to reconcile her own perception of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey with that of his critics. “He’s not a dictator,” Ms. Arslan, 28, said. “He’s a democrat.”

Ms. Arslan is one of a slim majority of Turks who voted on Sunday to give implicit support for Mr. Erdogan’s style of authoritarian leadership, and explicit approval for a new political system that will formally bestow sweeping powers on his office from 2019.

Turkey’s main opposition party is demanding a recount after voting irregularities were reported in Sunday’s referendum, which Mr. Erdogan won by 51.3 percent to 48.7. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, known by its Turkish abbreviation H.D.P., said that as many as three million votes, far more than the margin of victory, had lacked an official stamp and should be invalidated.

On Monday, Mr. Erdogan received a call congratulating him on his “recent referendum victory.” The White House account of the call did not mention concerns about the vote or about the future of democracy in Turkey.

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