by Fulya Ozerkan and Stuart Williams
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey’s election authority on Wednesday rejected opposition requests to cancel a referendum that boosted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authority as police detained activists over avenue protests following the contested ballot.
The slim victory of the ‘Yes’ marketing campaign in Sunday’s referendum handed Erdogan sweeping new powers — most of which is able to come into pressure after 2019 — however was bitterly disputed by his rivals.
The controversy has stoked additional political tensions over the rule of Erdogan, who has dominated Turkey since changing into premier in 2003 then president in 2014.
The predominant opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had on Tuesday requested that the ballot be scrapped over alleged violations.
Although the ‘Yes’ camp received with 51.41 p.c, it was a narrower-than-expected victory with the opposition claiming the result would have been reversed in a good ballot.
Ten members of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) determined towards annulling the vote, whereas just one voted in favour, the board stated in an announcement.
To the dismay of opposition events and ‘No’ supporters, the YSK made a last-minute determination on Sunday to simply accept poll papers in envelopes with out an official stamp.
International observers from the OSCE and the Council of Europe rights watchdog denounced the transfer, saying it “removed an important safeguard”.
Bulent Tezcan, CHP deputy chief, advised CNN-Turk the YSK’s determination to reject the petitions sparked a “serious legitimacy crisis.”
16 protesters arrested
There have been day by day avenue protests in anti-Erdogan neighbourhoods in Istanbul since Sunday’s referendum, with hundreds chanting slogans and banging pots and pans in an indignant present of discontent.
Istanbul police on Wednesday detained 16 leftist activists concerned in demonstrations.
Among them was Mesut Gecgel, the Istanbul chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP), a leftwing motion not represented in parliament.
The celebration stated he was detained on accusations of “agitating the public” by claiming the ‘Yes’ vote was illegitimate.
Gecgel’s lawyer Deniz Demirdogen advised AFP that anti-terror police raided the suspects’ houses earlier than daybreak, saying 16 folks had been detained thus far however arrest warrants had been issued for 38.
Describing the accusations as “strange”, he added: “They are accused of upsetting folks to query the legitimacy of the ‘Yes’ within the referendum.
“But there’s no such crime definition in the penal code.”
Speaking in Ankara earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated the matter of the election end result was closed and warned towards additional protests.
“Turkey is a state of law… and there can be no talk of anarchy, activities in the street,” he stated.
“I call on people not to give in to provocations or get caught up in incitement.”
‘All legal paths’
CHP spokeswoman Selin Sayek Boke vowed that the celebration would use all means to problem the end result and referred to as for a re-run of the vote.
“We will use all the legal paths and all legitimate democratic rights… No-one should doubt this,” she advised reporters in Ankara, saying such steps may even embody “withdrawing from parliament”.
But Levent Gok, CHP’s parliamentary group chief, later rejected the thought of boycotting parliament, saying it might use “all legitimate means” to guard the parliament.
Turkey’s main satirical weekly Penguen in the meantime took a light-hearted however reducing have a look at the state of affairs by printing a clean cowl.
“From now on, covers without cartoons will also be counted as valid,” stated the caption, in reference to the controversy over the counting of unstamped ballots.
‘Trump makes us happy’
The referendum has additionally prompted new friction in Turkey’s relationship with the European Union, which it has lengthy sought to affix however which gave the ‘Yes’ victory essentially the most lukewarm welcome.
By distinction, Donald Trump joined Russian President Vladimir Putin in congratulating Erdogan, with the Turkish strongman expressing optimism over his relationship with the brand new US chief.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu advised reporters in Ankara that Trump and Erdogan would meet in May earlier than a NATO summit.
“The way president Trump is approaching these matters makes us happy,” Erdogan advised CNN in an interview.