Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Trump calls Erdogan after referendum win

Trump calls Erdogan after referendum win

But Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Ministry dismissed the criticisms as "unacceptable" and the report as "biased".

Days after a historic referendum, European poll observers met Tuesday with Turkey's top election authority.

European leaders have expressed concern that the result - 51.4% in favour of the changes - has split Turkey.

Observers criticized the call. Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday.

The new system takes effect at the next election, now slated for 2019. The new president will be free from accountability to the country's parliament, will wield broad budgetary powers, and will have complete autonomy to shape the executive branch as he sees fit.

A supporter of the "Yes" campaign brandishes a picture of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan among other supporters waving Turkish national flags at a rally near the headquarters of the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) on April 16, 2017 in Istanbul after the initial results of a nationwide referendum that will determine Turkey's future destiny.

Worldwide monitors said the move undermined safeguards against fraud. The OSCE concluded that the referendum did not meet the standards of the Council of Europe.

The monitors also criticised a late change by electoral officials that allowed voting papers without official stamps to be counted. But the head of Turkey's electoral body said a similar procedure had been used in past elections.

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The Turkish Bar Association described the move as "illegal".

An Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission said up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated, nearly double the margin of Erdogan's victory, and that the YSK decision on unstamped ballots appeared illegal. She offered no evidence.

Erdogan, meanwhile, called the referendum "the most democratic election. ever seen in any Western country" and admonished the OSCE monitors to "know your place".

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Yildirim said "rumours" of irregularities were a vain effort to cast doubt on the result.

In an interview in the Bild newspaper to be published Tuesday, he warned Turkey that "joining would not work right now".

What have European leaders said?

"We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens - regardless of their vote on April 16 - as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution and in accordance with Turkey's worldwide commitments", the State Department said in a statement. "Our concern is what Hatice, Ayse, Fatma, Ahmet, Mehmet, Hasan, Huseyin says", he thundered as the crowd of supporters chanted for the return of capital punishment.

The European Union is calling for an independent investigation into complaints of voting irregularities. The "fiction" of Turkey's bid to join the bloc must be ended, Mr Kurz said.

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