Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

EU Commission says Turkey must investigate referendum doubts

Prime Minister and AKP leader Binali Yildirim said Erdogan could rejoin the party he founded in 2001 once official results - expected before the end of the month - were announced.

He also criticized the YSK, saying, "the quickly made decision of the electoral commission to validate wrongly or not at all stamped ballots is a violation of Turkish law".

In an address to legislators from his ruling party on Tuesday, Yildirim said the people had voted to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, adding: the "opposition should not speak after the people have spoken". learnt that Erdogan won 51.3 per cent of the votes in a referendum on Sunday to grant him sweeping powers in the biggest overhaul of modern Turkish politics.

However, the head of Turkey's electoral body, Sadi Guven, said the unstamped papers had been produced by the High Electoral Board and were valid.

Trump telephoned Erdogan on Monday to "congratulate" him on "his referendum victory" and to discuss last week's USA cruise missile strike on Syria and cooperation in the campaign there against the Islamic State, a White House statement said.

Meanwhile, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe also said earlier this week that "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in the vote.

The referendum itself (assuming a miraculously honest recount doesn't reverse the result) promises to replace what's left of Turkish democracy with one-man rule, since it gives the president near-absolute power.

Turkey rejected on Tuesday the European Union call for referendum probe.

Erdogan has dismissed the criticism from the observer mission, telling the monitors that they should "know your place".

Capital punishment is the "reddest of all red lines", EU Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said, and such a decision would be a "clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family".

Ignoring these monitors, US President Donald Trump called Erdogan on Monday to congratulate him on the referendum.

Italy's foreign minister called for Turkish opposition forces to be involved in reforms following the weekend's referendum.

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