Turkey: Main opposition party files for referendum annulment

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 19, 2017

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to supporters during.

Athens appeared relatively calm on Tuesday after the results of Sunday's referendum in Turkey - which expanded the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - as the nationalist rhetoric emanating from Ankara in the run-up to the vote is expected to subside, at least in the short term.

If the questionable results of the referendum hold, and there's no reason to think they won't, Turkey's elected despot will continue following the path of such authoritarian nationalists as Viktor "the Victator" Orban of Hungary, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi of Egypt and Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation.

Bulent Tezcan, deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), formally requested that the Supreme Election Board (YSK) cancel the result.

In Ankara, Fatma Korur, 46, said she was exercising her constitutional right to object to "illegal" results.

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.

The new system takes full effect at the next election, now slated for November 2019. This would allow Erdogan to rejoin the governing AKP he co-founded, or to lead it.

"We will invite our founding chairman to our party and we will feel a huge elation to see him among us", he said. The Turkish government said the measure passed by a slim margin, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent, but opposition parties and worldwide observers have raised questions about what they say are irregularities. "We share our report and we completed our mandate".

Protesters were fewer in number in Ankara, where they were outnumbered by police officers.

The European Union also urged a probe into the poll fraud claims after worldwide observers voiced concerns, but US President Donald Trump called his Turkish counterpart to offer his congratulations.

Just hours before the White House announcement, Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer, when asked about reaction to the Turkey vote, said it would be necessary to wait for observers to finish a review of the disputed results, which he said could take 10 to 12 days.

Regarding Syria, Erdogan and Trump "agreed on the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable", the White House readout states, adding that Trump thanked Erdogan "for supporting this action by the United States", referring to the United States launching about 60 Tomahawk missiles at Shayrat air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the town Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province.

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