Sunday, 05 April, 2020

Turkey's referendum and what's next

Christy Curtis | 18 April, 2017, 18:17

Showing no sign of pulling his punches, Erdogan said Turkey could hold further referendums on its European Union bid and re-introducing the death penalty. It is striking that when Ahmet Davutoglu, the former prime minister, engineered a deal last...

Erdogan slammed his critics at home and overseas.

The French government said it would "follow with great care" the worldwide monitors' final report in coming weeks, particularly in relation to a reported last-minute change of rules by the electoral boards to allow ballots that had not been officially stamped.

"We neither see, hear, nor acknowledge the political reports you'll prepare", he said later at the palace.

Tana de Zulueta, Head of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) limited election observation mission, said in particular: "Our monitoring showed the "Yes" campaign dominated the media coverage and this, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters' access to a plurality of views".

Even if no major problems were observed on referendum day, Cezar Florin Preda, Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that "the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards".

Turkey's foreign ministry dismissed the observers' criticism as lacking objectivity and impartiality.

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A Berkeley station for BART, the mass transit system, was shut down because of the disturbance, sources said. As protesters swarmed the area, police urged residents to avoid the area of Center and Miliva streets.

The U.S. president's phone call contrasts with concern by European leaders who have pointed out how the result - 51.4% in favour of the changes has exposed deep splits in Turkish society.

Erdogan, a populist with a background in once-banned Islamist parties, has ruled since 2003 with no real rival, while his country emerged as one of the fastest-growing industrial powers in both Europe and the Middle East. "They're trying to track down how many such votes might have been counted".

Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday. He added that the committed to strengthening its relationship with Turkey and supports their "democratic development, to which commitment to the rule of law and a diverse and free media remain essential".

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.

The president survived a coup attempt a year ago and responded with a crackdown, jailing 47,000 people and sacking or suspending more than 120,000 from government jobs such as teachers, soldiers, police, judges or other professionals.

Sources close to the president said he told President Erdogan: "I value our friendship, we have many important things to do together".

Most of the changes won't take effect until after the next presidential and parliamentary elections, slated for November 3, 2019.