Turkey opposition calls for referendum to be annulled

Apr 20, 2017, 00:28
Turkey opposition calls for referendum to be annulled

A brief readout of Monday's (17 April) phone call, released by the White House, did not say whether Trump had raised concerns expressed by global observers monitoring Sunday's referendum over voting irregularities.

The call was first reported by Turkish state media, one day after Erdogan won over 51 percent in Sunday's vote.

Opposition parties called for the vote to be annulled because of a series of irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots that did not bear official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

In an indication more strife with Brussels could be in the offing, Erdogan said he would now hold talks on reinstating capital punishment, a move that would automatically end Turkey's European Union bid.

For his part, Erdogan told opponents to give it up and stop "tiring themselves out" by challenging the referendum results (they did)-the Yes vote received 51.4 percent of the vote, and was pushed to victory in part by Turks voting overseas.

Erdogan argues that concentration of power is needed to prevent instability, but opponents accuse him of leading a drive towards one-man rule in Turkey. "We won't see or hear the politically motivated reports you prepare", Erdogan said on Monday, lambasting the OSCE's unfavorable estimate of the referendum's conduct by the government.

There were protests in Istanbul with a few thousand people crowding the anti-Erdogan Besiktas and Kadikoy districts, blowing whistles and chanting "We are shoulder to shoulder against fascism".

Late changes in counting procedures "removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition", the report added.

Erdogan earlier congratulated cheering supporters at Ankara's airport for "standing tall" in the face of the "crusader mentality" of the West. He is a charismatic and populist leader who served his country in many ways and earned so much trust and confidence of his people that they came out instantly at his call to defend democracy when some sections of Turkish Army tried to stage a coup in July previous year.

But Mr Erdogan has taken his authoritarian bent to an extreme, imposing the state of emergency and purging the opposition, academia and the army after a failed coup past year.

The White House readout of Mr Trump's call noted the pressing issues on which the USA has tried to work with Turkey, namely fighting the so-called Islamic State group and quelling Syria's civil war.

"We demand the cancellation of this referendum", Tezcan said.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union and Brussels has made it clear that any move to restore it would scupper Ankara's efforts to join the bloc.

"Our concern is not what George or Hans or Helga says".

The referendum approves 18 constitutional amendments that allow the president to appoint ministers, senior government officials and to hold sway over who sits on Turkey's highest judicial body, as well as to issue decrees and to declare states of emergency.

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