Turkey's main opposition calls for annulment of referendum

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media after unofficial referendum results were announced, in Istanbul, late Sunday, April 16, 2017.

Opposition figures questioned the result, however, and indicated they would challenge some of the counts.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party and top "no" campaigner, has said the result of the vote will remain unclear until they appeal to the High Electoral Board over "voter irregularities".

Before the vote, critics had said creating a powerful presidency was an attempt by Erdogan to establish a "one-man rule".

The margin reported Sunday fell short of the sweeping victory the 63-year-old Erdogan had sought in the referendum.

European monitors said the vote did not live up to global standards.

One objection that European Union members would have to ascension would be Turkey's possible re-implementation of capital punishment, which has not been used by the courts since 1984 and officially abolished in 2004. "But if there isn't support (from opposition MPs). then we could have another referendum for that", Erdogan said, as his supporters chanted for its reintroduction. Kurz tweeted that the result "shows how divided the country is".

But many also fear that the new system will endanger democracy in Turkey - a key USA ally and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

Germany, home to the largest number of Turks outside Turkey, said the apparent closeness of the result highlights a deep division in the country.

These contravened OSCE commitments and Council of Europe standards "regarding freedom and equality in the campaign", she said. Those two nations barred Turkish ministers from holding referendum campaign rallies within their borders, where millions of Turkish voters live.

Erdogan himself struck a defensive note after the referendum saying "we want other countries and organizations to show respect to the decision of our people". Our president has been trying to do many good things for us. We did not succumb.

The vote has divided Turkey, with supporters claiming the change will bring stability and efficiency to the government, while opponents have said that the move is a risky step toward one-man rule. "This country held the most democratic elections that have never been seen in any other country in the West".

The EU has consistently warned Ankara against reintroducing the death penalty.in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said that capital punishment was a "red line" and its reinstatement in Turkey "would lead to the end of negotiations".

  • Leroy Wright