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Turkish PM Launches 'Yes' Campaign to Boost Erdogan Powers

Turkey's Prime Minister and the leader of ruling Justice and Development Party Binali Yildirim addresses a rally in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 25, 2017.

Turkey's prime minister has officially launched his ruling party's campaign for a “yes” vote in a referendum on ushering a presidential system, which critics fear will concentrate too many powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Binali Yildirim formally got campaigning going on Saturday telling supporters in a sports arena that the proposed new system would build a strong Turkey capable of surmounting terror threats and make its economy more robust.

Yildirim said: “We are taking the first steps on the path of a future strong Turkey.”

The proposed reforms - to be voted on April 16 - will give the largely ceremonial presidency executive powers and abolish the office of the prime minister.

Opponents say the proposed system foresees too few checks and balances on Erdogan's rule.