38 detained in Turkey for questioning legitimacy of referendum result

38 detained in Turkey for questioning legitimacy of referendum result

Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, said the party filed a formal request seeking the referendum be annulled due to voting irregularities.

Other alleged violations included the HDP's polling station monitors being rejected, and state resources being used in Erdogan's "yes" campaign, Reuters reported.

The opposition cited possible irregularities in the tight race, especially a decision by the election commission, made while voting was well under way, to count ballots that were not officially sealed.

He also said that some voters had been unable to cast their votes in private.

The referendum was seen as crucial not just for shaping Turkey's political system but also the future strategic direction of a nation that has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since 1952 and a European Union hopeful for half a century.

The two leaders have talked on the telephone three times since Trump took office in late January, including a call on Monday after Erdogan secured a narrow win in a referendum on constitutional changes to give the president sweeping new powers.

Turkey's "yes" campaign was led by the governing AK Party and supported by the right-wing MHP.

The new system would dispense with the prime minister's post and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the president, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers.

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Yildirim said the "the path to seek rights" should be limited to legal objections.

The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights body, said the referendum was an uneven contest.

CHP party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also accused the electoral board of bias and favoring Erdogan's party. The president later called on citizens to take to the streets to show their opposition to the coup's plotters. "It is wrong to speak after the people have spoken".

In a further sign of nervousness about the referendum's implications for the migration pact, the commission's spokesman did not rule out visa-free travel coming to fruition for Turkey. Global observers have expressed harsh criticism of the unfairness of the elections, given that Erdogan has launched a campaign through intimidation prior to the vote.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the two leaders would meet in May ahead of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

"Saying the referendum fell below worldwide standards is unacceptable", the ministry said in a statement, adding that previous "politically charged" comments from OSCE monitors showed the team arrived in Turkey with prejudice and disregarded principles of objectivity and impartiality.

The changes - due to be introduced before presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019 - will turn Turkey into a presidential republic similar to the United States and France.

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