ISTANBUL — The scenes of Turkey’s bloody and abortive military coup last July still scar Uskudar, an old waterside district of Istanbul that was a deadly front of violence that night and remains, nearly a year later, a wellspring of the nation’s rage.
Residents nervously recall the armored vehicles that appeared that night, the rattle of gunfire and the snarling of motorcycles whisking the wounded to the hospital. At least 13 people from Uskudar were killed during the attempted coup, a cataclysm in Turkey that left more than 200 people dead, an anxious country betrayed and the government consumed with a vigorous hunt for it enemies.
So it came as some surprise last month when the residents of Uskudar voted to defeat a measure that gave the president greater powers — rejecting a set of constitutional changes that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his allies had pitched to the country as a patriotic response to the treachery in July. That Erdogan has a house in Uskudar and votes in the district made it all the more surprising.
The president’s resolute loyalists ultimately propelled him to a nationwide victory in the referendum, as they have time and again in votes since 2002, defiantly rejecting criticism that the changes doomed Turkey to one-man rule.
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