Turkey opposition aims to challenge Erdogan victory

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 18, 2017

Opposing parties said that this referendum is a step towards additional tyranny in a country where more than 47,000 were imprisoned and more than 140,000 were dismissed during a campaign post the failed coup in July, leading to criticizing Turkey by its allies in the West and the global rights organization.

The new system will no longer require the president to be nonpartisan, so Erdogan can rejoin the party he co-founded, and have increased influence over who runs for Parliament. "More than 100,000 people have been fired or arrested, including more than 100 journalists".

Critics said the vote, which took place under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of last year's failed coup, was unfair and the opposition vowed to challenge the results.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first public statements regarding the Turkish election results Monday morning, calling for dialogue.

Turks living overseas have played a major part in the success of the referendum, which will pave the way for one of the most important reforms in the country's history, Erdogan said.

However, a number of capitals chose to hold fire until hearing the opinion of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which had an observer mission in Turkey.

A statement on the electoral board's website hours before polls closed said it would count ballots that had not been stamped by officials as valid, unless they could be proved fraudulent.

But opposition supporters in anti-Erdogan districts of Istanbul showed their dissatisfaction by bashing pots and pans with kitchen utensils to create a noisy protest. Opponents said it was marred by irregularities and they would challenge the result.

"I suspect the result was narrower than what Erdogan expected", said Howard Eissenstat, associate professor of Middle East History at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

Three of Turkey's biggest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - all voted No to the constitutional changes.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that these measures and changes are needed to address the challenges and insurgency that are taking over the country after the failed attempted coup that occurred a year ago.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said there would be no early elections following the result.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) which campaigned for "No", said he respects the electorate's will, but criticised a decision by Turkey's High Electoral Board (YSK) taken on the day of the day to count unsealed paper ballots, which he said overshadowed the referendum's results. The amendments to the constitution are likely to allow Erdogan to hold office for two more terms until 2029.

The new presidential system takes effect at the next election, now slated for 2019.

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