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Turkey's Erdogan Compared to Nazis, Gains New Power in Islamic Quest

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Photo, Wikileaks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is claiming victory in a voter referendum on the country's constitution that gives him sweeping new powers.

Erdoğan began pushing Turkey in an Islamist direction in 2003 when he was elected prime minister. Now he has the power to accomplish his objectives. Critics say he is an autocratic leader.

Thousands of flag-waving supporters cheered the referendum, chanting that he restore the death penalty.

But Erdoğan won just 51 percent of the vote. The opposition is calling for an investigation, saying they faced intimidation, which included beatings, detentions, and threats.

The referendum abolishes the office of prime minister and gives broad executive powers to the president.

An analysis of the referendum in Britain's The Guardian compares Erdoğan's rise to power to that of Nazi Germany.

"It's hard not to notice the striking resemblance to the sequence of events in Germany from 1933: the Reichstag fire, the Night of the Long Knives, the infamous referendum in 1934. The similarities give one a powerful sense of history copy-and-pasting itself," the author writes.

The Guardian quotes Steven Cook in an essay for Foreign Policy, entitled "RIP Turkey: 1921-2017."

"The Turkish republic has always been flawed, but it always contained the aspiration that – against the backdrop of the principles to which successive constitutions claimed fidelity – it could become a democracy. Erdoğan's new Turkey closes off that prospect."

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