The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has achieved victory in a historic referendum on a package of constitutional amendments that will grant him sweeping new powers.
Electoral board says “Turkey has backed constitutional amendments but opposition parties demanded recounts after the Supreme Election Council ruled while the vote was still going on that ballots without official verification stamps would be accepted”.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have vowed to challenge the result, after provisional results indicated the narrowest of victories for the “yes” vote.
The three biggest cities in Turkey – Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, rejected the plans, which would abolish Turkey’s system of parliamentary democracy and replace it with an executive presidency with sweeping, largely unchecked powers.
Sadi Güven, the head of Turkey’s high electoral board (YSK), confirmed the passage of the referendum on Sunday night, based on unofficial results. “The yes campaign won 1.25m more votes than the no campaign, with only about 600,000 votes still to be counted”,
In an unusually muted victory speech, Erdoğan said foreign powers should respect the referendum’s outcome. He said: “We’ve got a lot to do, we are on this path but it’s time to change gears and go faster … We are carrying out the most important reform in the history of our nation.”
Erdoğan called the prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, and other political allies to congratulate them on the victory. Yıldırım delivered a victory speech, “Our nation has made its decision and said yes to the presidential system. The ballot box result showed we will not bow to traitors and terrorists. Turkey has won; our nation has won.”
EU leaders accuse the Turkish president of clamping down on freedoms, while he calls them “Nazi remnants” and “fascists” who have been morally compromised by their treatment of Turkey and Syrian refugees.
The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has already warned that “Turkey’s new order is incompatible with democratic norms and the rule of law.