Turkey: Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party wants him back

Posted April 24, 2017

Yilmaz added that the CHP was not surprised by the rejection of Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council of his party's appeal against the constitutional referendum results given the composition of the Council, which, he claimed, is dominated by supporters of the Turkish president.

The threshold was only reached because of an unholy alliance between the ruling AKP party, where everyone voted for the amendments, with no-one expressing a dissenting opinion, and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), where a majority supported the government.

That also sparked protests from individuals who opposed constitutional changes granting Erdogan strengthened executive powers and who formed long queues to submit their petitions. "And again, the objective of the President's call yesterday was not to discourage that but simply to talk about some of the things, like Syria, where they can work together", she said. The deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said on Tuesday that his party had done the same, and would use all legal paths to challenge the vote.

Unofficial results have Erdogan winning the referendum by a slim margin, with 51.4 percent voting "yes". The call was mainly focused on Syria, the official told CNN.

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Speaking in Ankara earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the matter of the election result was closed and warned against further protests.

Council of Europe observer mission said up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated, nearly double the margin of Erdogan's victory, and that the YSK decision on unstamped ballots appeared illegal.

The French government said it would "follow with great care" the worldwide monitors' final report in coming weeks, particularly in relation to a reported last-minute change of rules by the electoral boards to allow ballots that had not been officially stamped.

To his detractors - mostly from liberal backgrounds, LGBT and other vulnerable communities - the referendum represents an enormous threat to Turkey's democracy.

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Kılıçdaroğlu said he respected the nation's will but the decision on unsealed ballots had overshadowed the results.

Erdogan reaffirmed he would now hold talks on reinstating capital punishment - a move that would automatically end Turkey's European Union bid - and would call another referendum if the bill did not get enough votes in parliament to become law. Meanwhile, government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said: "We will follow closely how Turkey behaves on this".

"The German government takes the report by the OSCE and the Council of Europe very seriously, and we expect Turkey to do so", German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer told reporters in Berlin.

The opposition parties' request to completely annul the results will be decided at the national level by the YSK.

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"It is clear that the High Electoral Board is not receiving its power from the people, the law or the constitution but rather from a specific centre, a specific political authority", CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a speech, accusing the body of "changing the rules mid-game".