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> Just over a week to go before Turkey decides whether to grant its president, Tayyip Erdoğan, sweeping new executive powers in what has proven to be a very divisive referendum. But fueled by a series of crises at home, polling margins are so tight that both sides have taken their heated campaigns thousands of miles away.
I'm Reuters' Matt Larotonda in London, where one of those battles is unfolding. The United Kingdom is home to an estimated 150,000 Turkish nationals. Here, Erdoğan's allies and opponents are pulling out all the stops in an early vote aimed at expat voters. Election officials estimate some 50,000 Turks will cast their ballots here in London, part of similar efforts waged across Europe and the United States canvassing neighborhoods and hosting campaign rallies.
Both parties have even bussed in voters to the ballot box and Erdoğan is watching. When cities in Germany and the Netherlands refuse to host some events attended by his allies citing security reasons, it sparked a diplomatic confrontation that still hasn't recovered. The President accusing European leaders of harboring Nazi methods.
So much is riding on this referendum. As in Turkey, London's community is effectively divided. Supporters say Erdoğan brings much needed security and stability.>> I think for a country who's experienced a lot of coups in the history, I think it'd be good to have a positive change. Overall, we just want there to be stable government and a more developed, economically, country.
>> But others say his crackdowns have gone too far. Many opposition voters we spoke with refused to give their names citing fear of reprisals for their family back home.>> Even if my dead father was in charge, that I wouldn't vote yes for him to be one person in power.
>> Whatever Turkey chooses, the results will be felt far beyond its shores.