Turkey Arrests Dozens Over Referendum Protests

Officials fanned out in dawn raids across Turkey on Wednesday to arrest political opponents of last weekend’s controversial referendum that expanded the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At least 38 people who are accused of protesting online and on the streets were reported rounded up or issued an arrest warrant, relatives and lawyers representing detainees said. Erdogan won the vote in a 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent victory, and demostrators—who have taken to the streets every night since the referendum—say they believe the election was rigged. The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, independent electoral watchdog, declared Tuesday that the referendum was unfair and conducted against democratic standards. “These people are mainly those who attended the protests after the referendum and raised their voice against the result on social media,” said Deniz Demirdogen, a lawyer for detainee Mesut Gecgel. “The police told the detainees that they were accused of trying to agitate people against the ‘yes’ vote.” Tens of thousands of Turkish people have been detained by the Erdogan government since last summer’s failed coup against the increasingly authoritarian leader.