For The Nation:
Istanbul — Cups of tea and trays of sugar cubes are passed around in a crowded meeting in Istanbul’s Sisli district on a damp and cold winter night. Dozens of activists are gathered around a conference table littered with buttons and stickers, some with a simple “Hayir,” or “No,” on them, others with the slogan “No to a One-Man Regime.” The fliers are rainbow-colored, a homage to the 1988 campaign to remove Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from power in that year’s plebiscite.
The activists are inspired by that campaign—indeed, the government must be sensitive to the echoes, since a documentary about the Chilean plebiscite was pulled off the air in Turkey this year—as they plan for what will be their first citywide forum to mobilize against an April 16 constitutional referendum called by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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