Turkey's election board rejects appeals to cancel referendum

20 April, 2017, 06:35 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

In contrast to the tone of the US State Department, President Donald Trump congratulated his Turkish counterpart on Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent constitutional referendum victory in a phone call on Monday and discussed the US strikes against a Syrian airfield believed to have been involved in a chemical weapons attack on April 4.

- In a narrowly contested referendum, Turkish voters supported the proposal to greatly increase the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and to abolish the position of a Prime Minister.

The European Union says that if Turkey moves to reinstate the death penalty it would dash any hope that it could join the bloc.

Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan will present the demand at 1130 GMT, the party said in a statement.

"The main opposition party not recognizing the results is not an acceptable thing", Yildirim said.

The EU's call comes after the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, a democracy watchdog, both said in a report that it saw fundamental flaws and an uneven playing field in Turkey's referendum.

Turkey's bar association said a last-minute decision by the YSK electoral board to allow unstamped ballots in the referendum was clearly against the law, prevented proper records being kept, and may have impacted the results.

The US leader telephoned Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer "friendship" and to promise "close cooperation" in future, ignoring concerns raised by worldwide monitors.

"We will follow closely how Turkey behaves on this".

Ankara's relations with Europe had been tense in the months leading up to Sunday's vote, driven by the government's crackdown after a failed coup last July.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities late on April 17 to protest the results of the referendum.

With more than 99 percent of the ballots counted, 51.34 percent of people said "yes" to increase Erdogan's powers compared with 48.667 percent that cast "no" votes.

"Erdogan, whose narrow victory laid bare the nation's divisions, told flag-waving supporters that foreign election observers should "know their place" and Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" criticism that the vote did not live up to global standards", reported Reuters.

The board's decision to accept ballots without official stamps was like "changing the rules midgame", he said.

It would dispense with the prime minister's post and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the president, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers.

The HDP, the third largest party in parliament, filed a complaint with the electoral board on Wednesday calling for the referendum to be annulled after the CHP filed a similar appeal on Tuesday.

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