Turkey’s ruling party and the main opposition party kept up their fight Saturday over the results of the referendum on expanding the president’s powers. In a series of tweets Saturday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag slammed the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for continuing to object to the results of the April 16 referendum due to voting irregularities, saying that judicial paths to reverse the ruling are shut. The CHP fired back, saying he was threatening the judiciary in order to get them to rule against the party’s case. Unofficial results show the “yes” campaign for transforming Turkey’s parliamentary government system into a presidential one garnered 51.4 percent of the vote. Official results by the electoral board are expected next week.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Turkey.
Turkey’s high election board has rejected formal calls by the country’s main opposition parties to annul the result of a referendum that will grant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers as president. Voters narrowly approved a set of constitutional reforms that will transform the country from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential republic, concentrating power in the hands of Erdoğan, who will be able to run for two more terms and potentially govern until 2029. The Turkish president has been handed the chance to declare himself as the only fit protector of a besieged state and its vulnerable people The two main opposition parties – the Republican People’s party (CHP) and the People’s Democratic party (HDP) – had lodged formal complaints calling for the annulment of the result, citing a controversial last-minute decision by the board to allow the counting of possibly hundreds of thousands of unstamped ballots. The constitutional amendments passed with a margin of just over a million votes. International observers had said the decision to count the ballots “contradicted the law” and removed a safeguard against fraud.
Videos have emerged in Turkey of alleged ballot stuffing and polling station violations during the Sunday referendum that approved sweeping powers to the country’s president. Social media users circulated several videos, apparently showing violations on election day, including people voting more than once. In one video, a man who was identified by France 24 as Mehmet Koçlardan, the leader of a village in east Turkey from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), is seen casting five votes into a ballot box. Another video shows an unidentified person stamping “yes” on five voting slips and piling them on a table.
Turkey’s top election authority has voted against annulling the referendum to further empower President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Main opposition parties had challenged the results following complaints of vote-rigging. Turkey’s high electoral board (YSK) rejected appeals from the country’s main opposition parties to annul the referendum results, the board said in a statement on Wednesday. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish HDP had called on the electoral board to annul Sunday’s referendum because unstamped ballot papers were included in the count. They argued that this contravened Turkish electoral law. The board overwhelmingly voted to reject the parties’ appeals.
A village leader shoves four voting slips into a ballot box. An unknown arm marks three slips with a “yes” vote. An unknown hand adds five more. An election official validates a pile of voting slips — hours after they were meant to be validated. These are four of the scenes captured in unverified videos that have helped stoke accusations of voting fraud in polling stations across Turkey during Sunday’s referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan’s “yes” campaign has claimed victory by a small margin — 51.4 percent to 48.6 — in a vote that further insulates the president from scrutiny and tightens his grip on one of the most influential countries in the region. But while Mr. Erdogan has turned his claimed victory into a political reality, the legitimacy of his win is still in question.
International election monitors have criticized a Turkish referendum that has brought sweeping new powers to the presidency, saying the campaign was conducted on an “unlevel playing field” and that the vote count was marred by late procedural changes. Observers from the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a joint statement on April 17 that the legal framework for the referendum “remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum.” Turkey’s Central Election Committee (CEC) late on April 16 declared the “yes” camp as the winner with 51.3 percent of votes.
Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday’s Turkish referendum which ended in a tight ‘Yes’ vote for greater presidential powers, Alev Korun, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission, told ORF radio on Tuesday. The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights body, had already said the referendum was an uneven contest. Support for “Yes” dominated campaign coverage, and the arrests of journalists and closure of media outlets silenced other views, the monitors said. But Korun said there were questions about the actual voting as well.
President Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in a referendum on Sunday to grant him sweeping powers in the biggest overhaul of modern Turkish politics, but opponents said the vote was marred by irregularities and they would challenge its result. Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and its three main cities, including the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul, looked set to vote “No” after a bitter and divisive campaign. Erdogan said 25 million people had supported the proposal, which will replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with an all-powerful presidency and abolish the office of prime minister, giving the “Yes” camp 51.5 percent of the vote. That appeared short of the decisive victory for which he and the ruling AK Party had aggressively campaigned. Nevertheless, thousands of flag-waving supporters rallied in Ankara and Istanbul in celebration.
Turks have begun voting on Sunday on a referendum that would substantially reconfigure the political system and grant sweeping powers to the office of the presidency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes Turks at home and abroad will vote “yes” to his demand for the reconfiguration, but his critics fear the vote may add the weight of the constitution to his de facto one-man rule. If passed, the proposed changes would have a profound impact on a country that is a leading player in the Syrian civil war, a major way station along the migration routes to Europe and a crucial Middle Eastern partner of the United States and Russia. The latest polls suggest the vote could be close, despite the government’s prolonged intimidation of “no” campaigners, several of whom have been shot at and beaten while on the stump by persons unknown.
Turks are voting in today’s referendum on presidential power, and tens of thousands of ballot box observers have volunteered across the country to monitor the voting process. Some are independent, while others are aligned with political parties, but all will work to deter voter fraud in what may be the republic’s most significant decision since its founding in 1923. Shortly after voting began on Sunday, there were reports that “observers detained in Diyarbakir” and “Reports of monitors being barred from their assigned polling areas in southeast Turkey” … During a phone interview on Friday, Hakan Ozturk, a board member for the opposition-affiliated Unity for Democracy (DIB), said, “We expect fraud.”