Europe to Turkey: Reach out to 49 percent whom opposed referendum

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Ataturk Library during a referendum in Istanbul

The country voted on Sunday in a plebiscite on granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extra powers that was won by the "Yes" camp but disputed by the opposition.

After the vote, Mr Erdogan repeated his intention to review Turkey's suspension of the death penalty, a step which would nearly certainly spell the end of Ankara's European Union accession process.

Following decisions by German and Dutch authorities to block pro-Erdogan rallies in their countries ahead of the referendum, the Turkish president characterized his European opponents as the "grandchildren of Nazism".

Worldwide observers also questioned the poll, saying the vote count itself was marred by late procedural changes.

Earlier Monday, the OSCE claimed a "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in Turkey's referendum.

The Council of Europe, of which Turkey is a member, is a separate entity from the EU.

Turkey's main opposition party says it will demand a partial recount in Sunday's constitutional referendum, citing irregularities in the voting process.

The head of the country's electoral board confirmed the win shortly after Mr Erdogan spoke and said the final results would be known in 11-12 days.




France urged Mr Erdogan not to use the result to bring back capital punishment. "They shouldn't try, it will be in vain", he said.

Mr Erdogan has insisted the changes are needed to amend the current constitution, which was written by generals following a 1980 military coup, to confront security and political challenges in Turkey and avoid past fragile coalition governments.

Sunday's vote grants sweeping powers to Erdogan, including the ability to directly appoint ministers and intervene in the judiciary.

Numerous votes are coming from the Turks residing overseas in Germany, reportedly at 1.6 million.

"What is disconcerting for him [Erdogan] is not just the opposition, which is crying foul, but the fact that nearly 50 percent of the people voted against this massive change and may not be willing to accept the result easily", Aliriza said.

In a joint statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the outcome of the vote has indicated a "deeply divided" Turkish society.

Opposition parties have argued that the changes, which come into effect after the 2019 presidential election, give too much power to the office.

The office of prime minister is also set to be abolished, allowing the president to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees overseeing ministries without parliamentary approval.

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