In central Ankara, it can be hard to think amidst the noise. Campaign buses are parked daily on opposite corners of Kizilay square, each one blasting propaganda as shoppers snake through crowds of flag wavers and flyer distributors. Foot traffic is heavy and campaigners from across the political spectrum work side by side to sway voters for the upcoming referendum. In less than two weeks, Turks will decide on whether to consolidate power under the presidency, currently held by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Currently, national polls show the “Yes” and “No” votes are nearly tied and as the referendum approaches, the two contrasting visions for the nation’s future often play out in the streets.
“The fact we have a close race proves there is democracy in Turkey,” said Serhat Tugral, a lawyer working in a tent where legal experts explain the constitution to voters and the reasons to vote for “Yes” on the presidential system.
“We need a strong leader for the stability of the country, especially after the coup attempt,” Tugral told DW. “We need to defend democracy.”