The crowd of diehard supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cheered at a referendum-eve rally in the Umraniye district of Istanbul when Turkey’s Islamist leader called on them to drive the West, as well as terrorists, mad by voting “yes” in the next day’s plebiscite.
“Let’s pass such a reform that the West goes crazy,” he said.
Western officials may not be going crazy, but they are alarmed by Sunday’s vote. The slim majority that backed Erdogan’s bid to dramatically expand his executive power has set Ankara and the European Union on a collision course, European officials fear. On Monday, Erdogan challenged Brussels with a renewed demand that Turks be allowed visa-free travel across Europe and a threat to restore the death penalty.
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