Putin congratulates Erdogan for victory in referendum

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2017

Before the electoral board's announcement, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the opposition had the right to file objections, but warned that calling for street protests was unacceptable.

The opposition has been particularly incensed by a last- minute move from the YSK to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp. He said the party would use all legal paths to challenge the vote.

The main secularist opposition People's Republican Party said it was still unclear how many votes were affected.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that his plans to assume sweeping new powers do not make him a dictator.

Responding to the results, Mr. Erdogan said Turkey had made a historic decision in backing an executive presidential system, adding that the "Yes" camp had secured 25 million referendum votes, 1.3 million ahead of "No".

"Bringing back the death penalty would have two objectives: putting an end to any internal disagreement, and triggering a formal halt by the European Union - and not by Turkey - of the accession negotiations", Pierini said.

"What matters for us is not so much the first reaction from whomever in Turkey, directed more at domestic politics, but whether the responsible Turkish authorities really deal seriously with the criticism voiced publicly by the OSCE election observer mission, which was meant seriously and researched seriously".

Addressing supporters in the presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan said that Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge the politically motivated reports" of the monitors.

Delivering the report, Tana de Zulueta, head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said the "No" campaign had been restricted and that the electoral authority unfairly changed the rules after polls had opened.

The changes - due to be introduced before presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019 - will turn Turkey into a presidential republic similar to the U.S. and France.

Unlike U.S. President Donald Trump, the European Union would not congratulate Erdogan on his triumph, a Western official with knowledge of EU policy told Reuters.

Thousands of people marched through at least three neighborhoods of Istanbul, some chanting, "Thief, Erdogan", "No to the presidency" and "This is just the beginning" after calls on social media for protests in several cities. Additionally, Mr Erdogan said he would approve the death penalty if it was supported in a referendum or a bill was submitted to him through parliament.

CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu also said the government and the YSK had "staged a coup against the national will" in a posting on Twitter. The two leaders also discussed Turkey's support of the USA response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack and efforts to counter the Islamic State group, according to the White House summary of their phone call Monday.

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