World Europe 18 Apr 2017 Rivals to challenge ...

Rivals to challenge Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s poll win

AGENCIES | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Apr 18, 2017, 4:07 am IST
Updated Apr 18, 2017, 4:08 am IST
A supporter of the “yes” camp brandishes a picture of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a rally in Istanbul after the results. (Photo: AFP)
 A supporter of the “yes” camp brandishes a picture of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a rally in Istanbul after the results. (Photo: AFP)

Turkey’s opposition on Monday called for the annulment of a referendum giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, as international monitors voiced concern over the campaign and vote count.

The referendum was seen as crucial not just for shaping the political system of Turkey but also the future strategic direction of a nation that has been a Nato member since 1952 and an EU hopeful for half a century.

Showing no sign of pulling his punches after the referendum victory, Mr Erdogan sparked new alarm in EU capitals by saying Turkey’s next plebiscite could be on re-introducing the death penalty.

The ‘Yes’ camp won 51.41 per cent in Sunday’s referendum and ‘No’ 48.59, according to complete results released by election authorities.

Mr Erdogan, who opponents fear could now assume one-man rule, returned to Ankara from Istanbul, welcomed by thousands lining the roads as he drove in triumph aboard the presidential bus. In a brief speech from the airport, Mr Erdogan congratulated cheering supporters for “standing tall” in the face of the “crusader mentality” of the West.

But the opposition immediately cried foul over alleged violations, claiming that a clean vote would have made a difference of several percentage points and handed them victory.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said they would challenge the results from most of the ballot boxes due to alleged violations.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign ministry has rejected international monitors’ findings on its referendum, saying it was “saddened” by what it called “politically-motivated and accusatory” statements. In a statement, the foreign ministry said that the observer mission’s findings that Sunday’s referendum procedures “fell short” of international standards “were unacceptable.”    

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