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Turks Head to Polls Sunday in Key Referendum

Turks are set to vote Sunday in a referendum on changes to the constitution that was crafted in the wake of Turkey's 1980 military coup.

A single yes-or-no vote is required on a package of 26 reforms that the government says will strengthen democracy and bring the 1982 constitution more in line with European norms. That is a key plank in the nation's bid to join the European Union.

The proposed changes range from expanding rights for the disabled to an amendment that would give the executive branch more power in appointing judges.

Political analysts also see the referendum as a bellwether vote on the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

EU ministers met Saturday in Brussels to discuss possibly speeding up Turkey's admittance into the European Union.

Negotiations for Turkey to join the 27-member EU have made little progress since starting in 2005, with France and Germany both expressing opposition to Turkey's bid.

But the EU is increasingly anxious to work with Turkey on issues like the Mideast peace process, Iran's nuclear ambitions and Bosnia, where Ankara wields influence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.