The OSCE said the absence of some activists and leaders in jail “seriously curtailed some groups’ ability to campaign.” AFP / BULENT KILIC
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As the clock ticks down to Turkey's landmark referendum Sunday on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, it's impossible to miss the posters for the government-backed "Yes" campaign in Ankara and other cities across the country.The "Yes" campaign also dominates the airwaves, with all Erdogan's speeches broadcast live and even the main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP), struggling to make his voice heard.Tolgay Yorulmaz, in charge of campaigning in the Ankara district of Cankaya, said letters were given out to people voting for the first time in a door-to-door campaign.While the CHP has generally been able to campaign openly, the third largest party in Parliament – the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) – has faced much more significant hurdles. HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag are among 13 HDP MPs in jail as well as other party members accused of links to outlawed Kurdish militants, in what supporters say is a deliberate move to sideline them from the campaign.
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