Trump congratulates Erdogan after Turkey referendum win

The European Union statement, issued by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and two other top officials, said the EU executive took note of the result and was awaiting an assessment of an global observation mission "also with regard to alleged irregularities".

"The crusader mentality in the West and its servants at home have attacked us", he told a crowd as he arrived at Ankara airport, in response to the vote monitors' assessment.

According to a press release by PIO, Government spokesman has told state television Cybc that "we are in a critical state of affairs regarding the talks on the Cyprus issue, we have to handle hard and sensitive issues and everybody knows that in the majority of these issues the final decisions will be taken in Ankara". He added: "This country held the most democratic polls that have never been seen in any other country in the West".

Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe focused on Turkey and the Middle East, said bringing back the death penalty would allow Erdogan to pin the blame on the European Union for the end of the membership bid.

"Our monitoring showed the "Yes" campaign dominated the media coverage and this, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters' access to a plurality of views", Zulueta said.

Mr Erdogan has insisted the changes are needed to amend the current constitution, which was written by generals following a 1980 military coup, to confront security and political challenges in Turkey and avoid past fragile coalition governments.

The legal framework, which is focused on elections, remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum, the monitors said in a joint statement.

They include an electoral board decision to accept ballots that did not bear official stamps, as required by Turkish law. Official results are expected within 12 days.

Erdogan, a populist with a background in once-banned Islamist parties, has ruled since 2003 with no real rival, while his country emerged as one of the fastest-growing industrial powers in both Europe and the Middle East.

Human Rights Watch details Erdogan's crackdown in Turkey.

He won a national referendum, with 51 percent of the vote, that makes him a virtual dictator. "Such a solution does not imply in any case the right of veto over all decisions at the federal level", Chrristodoulides said.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday that if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved "from rhetoric to action on the issue of the death penalty (it) would be clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family".

Turkey's parliament has approved a three-month extension of the state of emergency declared in the wake of last year's failed coup.

"The Turkish republic, such as it was, was more important to us than access to Incirlik Air Base", said Eric Brown, a Hudson Institute researcher, speaking Monday at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Noting nearly half the population voted no in the referendum, Sahin said, "The system is based on weak legitimacy".

But in a country that is deeply divided, "where it's nearly half and half for and against Erdogan, if you even have allegations of voter fraud, whether or not it happened, his legitimacy will be completely and constantly questioned by that half that does not vote for him".

European leaders reacted with restraint and concern towards the narrow outcome of the referendum.

  • Leroy Wright