Sentiment divided as Turks vote in polls that may give president broad new powers

Yaşar Ayhan used to be Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s barber when the Turkish president was still mayor of Istanbul. A photograph of them together still hangs in Ayhan’s shop in the Kasimpaşa district where Erdoğan grew up.

Ayhan, 52, last saw the president at a breakfast during Ramadan. His hair was thinner, he said, burdened as he is by Turkey’s myriad challenges. “I voted for Tayyip Erdoğan,” he said. “We are proud of him. He’s not only a leader, but a world leader.”

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Read More Totalitarian tyrant or trusted leader? Turkish voters split on Erdoğan

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