Turkish body votes against annulling referendum

Turkish President declares victory

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that his plans to assume sweeping new powers do not make him a dictator.

The change could potentially allow Mr Erdogan to remain in power until 2029.

Critics fear the changes will lead to autocratic one-man rule under Erdogan, but supporters say they simply put Turkey in line with France and the United States and are needed for efficient government. Everyone and all sections - and the main opposition party in particular - must show respect.

By contrast, Donald Trump joined Russian President Vladimir Putin in congratulating Erdogan, with the Turkish strongman expressing optimism over his relationship with the new U.S. leader. Donald Trump congratulated his counterpart while the European Union kept its distance.

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 French agency elaborated.

Describing the accusations as "strange", he added: "They are accused of provoking people to question the legitimacy of the "Yes" in the referendum".

"HDP, CHP and Vatan Party appeals regarding the April 16 referendum were discussed separately and as a result of evaluations, the appeals were rejected with 10 votes against and 1 vote in favor", the electoral board said.

Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoglu, the Republican People's Party's representative to the High Electoral Board, said the party had asked the board to annul Sunday's referendum "because we weren't able to ensure election safety". It was not immediately clear how many unstamped ballots the electoral board had accepted as valid.

The queues formed as the main opposition party was scheduled to formally request that the electoral authority annul the referendum over the ballots lacking the official stamp.

Erdogan told CNN he would be happy to have a face-to-face meeting with the new American leader "and take our relationship forward". Erdogan argues that concentration of power in the presidency is needed to prevent instability. Opponents accuse him of leading a drive toward one-man rule in Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member that borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and whose stability is of vital importance to the United States and the European Union. "The will of the people was freely reflected into the ballot boxes, and this business is over". "Everyone should respect the outcome, especially the main opposition", the PM added.

The stamps were required to avoid "ballot-stuffing" - where extra votes are cast illegally to manipulate results - and unstamped ballots had been dismissed as invalid in earlier votes.

His congratulations stands in stark contrast to the more cautious tone adopted by European leaders and a statement issued by the US State Department, which acknowledged the results but warned against further repression by the Turkish government of the political opposition. But it said that had failed to happen, and that evidence of irregularities had therefore not been properly archived.

The opposition has cited several problems with how the vote was conducted. The YSK has also made a decision to annul elections in the past because of unstamped ballots. Those results are expected before the end of the month. YSK officials could not be reached for comment.

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