Turkey’s premier calls on opposition to respect referendum

Turkey's premier calls on opposition to respect referendum

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s prime minister on Tuesday called on the opposition to respect the result of a referendum that will give sweeping new powers to the office of the president.

Binali Yildirim made the call during an address to legislators from his ruling party, as the country’s main opposition party prepared to apply to the country’s highest electoral board to seek an annulation of Sunday’s vote which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “yes” camp a narrow win.

The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, called for the vote on the referendum to be annulled citing a series of irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots that didn’t bear official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who also listed numerous irregularities, said the move undermined important election safeguards, drawing a harsh rebuke from Erdogan.

“Efforts to cast a shadow on the result of the vote by spreading rumours of fraud are futile and in vain,” Yildirim said. “The will of the people was freely reflected into the ballot boxes and this business is over. Everyone and all sections — and the main opposition party in particular— must show respect. It is wrong to speak after the people have spoken.”

The vote allows Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey first as prime minister and now as president since 2003, to fulfil his long-held ambition for a presidency with executive powers.

The referendum approves 18 constitutional amendments that allow the president to appoint ministers, senior government officials and to hold sway over who sits in Turkey’s highest judicial body, as well as to issue decrees and declare states of emergency.

The new system takes effect at the next election, currently slated for November 2019. Other changes are to be implemented sooner, including scrapping a requirement that the president not be a member of any political party. This would allow Erdogan to rejoin the governing AK Party he co-founded, or to lead it.

On Tuesday, Yildirim said Erdogan would be invited to join the party as soon as the official results are declared.

“We will invite our founding chairman to our party and we will feel a huge elation to see him among us,” he said.

Meanwhile, OSCE monitors were seen entering the Supreme Electoral Board headquarters. Tana de Zulueta, head of the observer mission, told reporters that the group had paid a courtesy call and held a “cordial” meeting with board members.

Asked to comment about Erdogan’s rebuke, de Zulueta said: “I don’t have an opinion, we are invited by the Turkish authorities to observe. We share our report and we completed our mandate.”

In Istanbul, hundreds of “no” supporters demonstrated in the streets on Monday, chanting “thief, murderer, Erdogan” and banging pots and pans.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ignored the concerns about voting irregularities and congratulated Erdogan on his referendum victory. The two leaders also discussed Turkey’s support of the U.S. response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack and efforts to counter the Islamic State group, according to the White House statement on their phone call Monday.

Suzan Fraser And Zeynep Bilginsoy, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read