Turkey electoral board rejects request to annul referendum

Turkey electoral board rejects request to annul referendum

Turkey electoral board rejects request to annul referendum

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a referendum that will expand his powers, the Kremlin and Turkish state media said on April 18.

Turkey's top electoral board will consider objections Wednesday to the way the country's referendum was run, according to Turkey's semi-official Anadolu news agency.

Trump made the phone call despite questions posed by European leaders and his own State Department over "observed irregularities" as to how the referendum vote was carried out-particularly the High Board of Elections' decision to accept ballot papers that did not bear the official government stamp-and what the outcome means for democracy in Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan has claimed a narrow 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent victory in the vote, but protesters in pockets of the country have marched in the streets every night since then to demonstrate against what they assert was a rigged election.

The queues formed as the main opposition party was scheduled to formally request that the electoral authority annul the referendum over the ballots lacking the official stamp.

"We will activate all legal channels", he said, adding that the party would map out its policy after meeting legal experts on Thursday.

Critics fear the changes will lead to autocratic one-man rule under Erdogan, but supporters say they simply put Turkey in line with France and the United States and are needed for efficient government.

"It is more important now to maintain the dialogue and to keep communication channels open", he said, adding that dialogue with Ankara had been hard in recent months.

Speaking in Ankara earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the issue of the election result was closed and warned against street protests.

"We have said this over and over in my speeches".

Erdogan rejected accusations that the new powers were aimed at personal gain rather than improving Turkey's political system.

Erdogan reaffirmed he would now hold talks on reinstating capital punishment - a move that would automatically end Turkey's European Union bid - and would call another referendum if the bill did not get enough votes in parliament to become law. Some voters had been unable to cast their ballots in private, he also said.

"From now on, covers without cartoons will also be counted as valid", said the caption, in reference to the controversy over the counting of unstamped ballots. The violations were noticed, however, the observers did not comment on the lack of opportunities for the supporters of the presidential system in Europe to hold campaigns there, and this is an evidence of their biased approach.

The referendum has also caused new friction in Turkey's relationship with the European Union, which it has long sought to join but which gave the "Yes" victory the most lukewarm welcome. "We call on the authorities to launch a transparent investigation into these alleged irregularities", Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said when asked about the conclusions of the observer mission from the Council of Europe human rights body.

The two leaders will meet in May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference carried by CNN Turk on Wednesday.