'Controversial & unfair': Turkish opposition files appeal for referendum annulment

The petitions had been filed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Patriotic Party.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition HDP party has filed an appeal for the annulment of the referendum which will grant President Erdogan sweeping new powers, citing widespread violations.

People walk in central Istanbul's Taksim Square, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The Anadolu news agency reported Wednesday that the High Electoral Board voted 10-1 against the decision.

On Sunday, 51.4 percent of Turkish voters cast their ballots in favor of 18 constitutional amendments that will, among other things, see Turkey switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential system of governance. Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday called on the opposition to respect the result of a referendum that will give sweeping new powers to the office of the president, but the main opposition party formally requested the vote be annulled.

He said the electoral board's last-minute decision to allow unstamped ballots had prevented proper record-keeping, meaning that it was now impossible to determine how many invalid or fake votes may have been counted.

Mr Yildirim said the "the path to seek rights" should be limited to legal objections and urged the opposition to accept the vote's outcome.

"Calling people to the street is wrong and is outside the line of legitimacy", Mr Yildirim said, adding that "we expect the main opposition party's leader to act more responsibly".

The Istanbul Bar Association on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against electoral board head Sadi Guven for "wrongful conduct" and "altering the result of the election".

"We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens", the statement said.

The German government has also questioned the vote after the European Union called for a probe into the result.

"That the Turkish leadership didn't like the criticism by the OSCE's election observer mission isn't a surprise to anyone", German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.

The U.S. response has been different, with President Donald Trump calling Erdogan shortly after the referendum to congratulate him on his win.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in May ahead of a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

  • Leroy Wright