Turkish referendum polls put ‘yes’ vote slightly ahead

A Turkish voter casts his ballot at the polling station for the Turkish referendum in the Amsterdam RAI, the Netherlands, 05 April 2017. (EPA)
Updated 12 April 2017
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Turkish referendum polls put ‘yes’ vote slightly ahead

ISTANBUL: Two Turkish opinion polls on Wednesday showed a narrow majority of Turks, between 51-52 percent, would vote ‘yes’ in Sunday’s referendum on changing the constitution to create an executive presidency.
Voters in Turkey will go to the polls on April 16 to decide whether to give Erdogan sweeping new powers. Voting by Turks abroad began as early as late March and finished on Sunday.
A survey by pollsters ANAR put the ‘yes’ vote on 52 percent. Its poll was conducted face-to-face with more than 4,000 people on April 5-10 in 26 provinces.
The number of undecided voters has fallen to 8 percent, ANAR said, adding that after distribution of these voters, there was a two percentage point rise in the ‘yes’ vote compared with its survey at the start of March.
The results only apply to voters in Turkey, with the level of ‘yes’ support among voters abroad expected to raise the ‘yes’ vote slightly, ANAR said in a statement shared on Twitter by its general manager Ibrahim Uslu.
Erdogan said on Tuesday Turks living overseas had turned out in greater numbers to vote, a development that pollsters say could benefit him.
The referendum campaign has damaged Turkey’s ties with some European allies. Erdogan has said the banning on security grounds of some rallies by Turkish ministers in the Netherlands and Germany reflects “Nazi-like” tactics in those countries.
The Konsensus polling company put the ‘yes’ vote on 51.2 percent after the distribution of undecided voters. It conducted its survey face-to-face with 2,000 people on April 2-8 in 41 provinces.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 17 sec ago
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization
DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.