ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in the referendum on granting him sweeping new powers, saying it was won by a clear majority, BBC reported.
He addressed a rally in Istanbul as the process of counting was completed.
According to the state-run Anadolu agency, Erdoğan has called allied political leaders to congratulate them over the Yes win, with the words: “May this result be fortunate for our nation.”
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) April 16, 2017
Erdogan declares referendum victory in congratulatory calls to leaders of the AKP, MHP and BBP: AA #TurkishReferendum
— Benjamin Harvey (@BenjaminHarvey) April 16, 2017
Um that entire blue line across the top that voted Yes sits on the coast of the Black Sea. https://t.co/U35D4HtLFU
— Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) April 16, 2017
What new amendments could mean?
A “Yes” vote could also see Erdogan remain in office until 2029.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP), the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) and other critics have argued that the amendments will give too much power to one individual, undermining the separation of powers in the government.
The Economist wrote: “The result will help determine the fate of Mr Erdoğan, who has governed since 2003 – first as a reforming prime minister, but lately as a strongman president who has come to treat all opposition as a form of treason. A no would be a grave blow for Mr Erdogan. A yes would root his power in the very foundations of the state.”
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 15, 2017
“If Erdogan prevails in the vote, his grip on power would be considerably tightened. Term limits for the presidency would be reset and, if he wins elections in 2019 and 2024, he could be in power until 2029,” CNN reported.
According to the BBC, under the new amendments, Erdogan would be given enhanced powers to appoint cabinet ministers, issue decrees, choose senior judges and dissolve parliament.
“He would also have authority to intervene in the judiciary, which he has accused of being influenced by Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher he blames for the failed coup in July.”
Confusion over countings:
However, according to the Guardian, the High Electoral Board in Turkey are saying that the number of opened ballots is lower than the figures being given on state-run news agency Anadolu.
Spoke to High Electoral Board just now. Official figures given:
60% ballot boxes opened
Yes – 53.98%
No – 46.02%
— Selin Girit (@selingirit) April 16, 2017
Don't forget: Anadolu Agency numbers show 99% of ballot boxes opened. The Supreme Election Committee official number is 65% opened. https://t.co/ZjpyuqAgWp
— Alp Ozcelik (@alplicable) April 16, 2017
— Eda Seyhan (@eda_seyhan) April 16, 2017
According to Turkish news outlet Hürriyet, the main opposition CHP deputy leader Erdal Aksünger is alleging manipulation in state-run Anadolu Agency’s reporting on votes in Istanbul – saying they had falsely said more votes had been counted than was actually the case. He said the real number of opened ballot boxes was just 57 percent, Guardian reported.
Anadolu said the “yes” side was at 51.0 percent while the “no” side was at “49.0” percent.
According to AFP, Turkey’s two opposition parties are set to challenge the referendum result.
#BREAKING Turkey's two main opposition parties say to challenge referendum result
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 16, 2017