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You're reading: Turkey of a vote

Ukrainians have seen the game being played by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before. It goes like this: become prime minister, then switch to president and boost your powers by tinkering with the constitution.

Authoritarians like Erdogan don’t change the rules of the political system to make it better and more equitable, they do it to increase their own power and to attempt to stay in office longer — as former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych did here in 2010, as Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing, as many other tyrants have done.

Erdogan is an authoritarian leader edging towards dictatorship, if not already there: Since an abortive coup last year, 40,000 people have been arrested, including more than 2,700 judges, and nearly 200 journalists, with many still imprisoned. University deans have been sacked, and thousands of civil servants suspected of supporting the alleged coup plotter, Fethullah Gulen, have lost their jobs. He has cracked down on his critics in politics, the military and the press.

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