Turkey's AKP eyes gradual Erdogan return to party after referendum win

Cheryl Sanders
April 21, 2017

The YSK stated on April 19 that it inspected appeals from the two parties in parliament, as well as the Vatan Party, and rejected them all, with only one affirmative vote from its 11 members.

During Sunday's referendum, Turkish citizens supported the government-backed constitutional changes to shift to a presidential system, and therefore broaden the sitting president's powers.

The complaints would be reviewed before noon, Sadi Guven said in Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Opposition parties have complained of a series of irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots without official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

Opposition parties including the main opposition CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP had called on the electoral board to annul Sunday's vote, which was narrowly won by the "Yes" camp, because unstamped ballot papers were included.

The head of Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) said on Wednesday that the board will evaluate appeals for annulment of constitutional referendum result.

Before the announcement, Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said the opposition had the right to file objections but said that calling for street protests was unacceptable.

"Calling people to the street is wrong and is outside the line of legitimacy", Mr Yildirim said, adding that "we expect the main opposition party's leader to act more responsibly".

Some 2,000 protesters in Istanbul Wednesday evening demanded the resignation of the electoral board and chanted "Don't be silent, shout out, "no" to the presidency". The preliminary results showed that "yes" votes stood at 51.41 percent with all ballots counted.

The official results are due to be released at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe also said earlier this week that "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in the vote. "From the German government's point of view, Turkey must. clear up the questions that have been raised".

A government spokesperson said: "We will follow closely how Turkey behaves on this".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday that the two leaders would sit down together before a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit scheduled for May 29-30 in Brussels.

"You can not come to Turkey and interfere in its politics", Cavusoglu said, calling the observer missions' findings "biased".

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