Turkish opposition say electoral board is biased

The EU has called on the civil authorities in Turkey to launch a transparent investigation into the referendum result granting the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sweeping new powers.

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans, who spent four days in Turkey as an official global monitor, said there was clear evidence of the campaign being one-sided.

Criticism of Turkey's referendum result grew louder on Tuesday, with the European observers claiming close to three million votes could have been manipulated.

Under the outgoing constitution, the president had been required to remain impartial and renounce party political ties.

Erdogan, whose narrow victory laid bare the nation's divisions, told flag-waving supporters that foreign election observers should "know their place" and Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" criticism that the vote did not live up to worldwide standards.

The controversial decision to allow the use of ballots that did not have an official stamp was also criticized.

"This is about the fact that actually the law only allows official voting envelopes", Mr Korun said.

The opposition CHP party will present an appeal for the annulment of the referendum to the High Electoral Board (YSK) on Tuesday.

The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights body, said the referendum was an uneven contest.

"These complaints are to be taken very seriously and they are, in any case, of such an extent that they would turn around the outcome of the vote", Alev Korun told ORF radio.

US President Donald Trump congratulated Erdogan on his referendum victory, a sharp departure from the critical reception many European officials gave the vote to expand Erdogan's powers.

"There will be no call to Erdogan from the Commission, certainly not a congratulatory call", a Western official with knowledge of European Union policy told Reuters. "Turkey is sliding towards a semi-authoritarian system under one-man rule".

Unofficial results show that a total of 1,424,277 overseas voters casting ballots - overall almost 60 percent of them - voted "Yes" in the weekend referendum.

Sunday's referendum focussed on a proposal to reinforce the powers of the Turkish president - a move that critics say may worsen the country's rights record and steer it towards dictatorship.

"The people's will has been reflected at the ballot box, and the debate is over", he said.

Speaking to a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said "everyone has to respect the result, including the main opposition party".

The French government said it would "follow with great care" the global 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.

"The YSK announcement, which is clearly against the law, has led to irregularities, and the prevention of records that could uncover irregularities from being kept".

  • Leroy Wright