President Erdogan Claims Victory in Turkey Referendum

Protest ensued in Istanbul against the results which gives sweeping powers to the president.

2 min read
Supporters of the “Yes” vote celebrate in Ankara, on Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Photo: AP)

Unofficial results show that Turks approved changes to their constitution handing President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers in a referendum on Sunday, the head of the country's High Electoral Board (YSK) said.

Turkey has made a historic decision in backing an executive presidential system, President Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that the "Yes" camp had secured 25 million votes in Sunday's referendum, 1.3 million ahead of "No".

Erdogan, speaking from his official residence in Istanbul, said the referendum had closed the door on Turkey's long history of military intervention in government.

Turkey for the first time in its history has decided with the will of the parliament and its people on such an important change. For the first time in the history of the Republic, we are changing our ruling system through civil politics. That is why it is very significant.
President Tayyip Erdogan

President Tayyip Erdogan told crowds of flag-waving supporters on Sunday that Turkey could hold another referendum on reinstating the death penalty, as he claimed victory in a vote that will hand him sweeping new powers.

Results from the state-run Anadolu news agency showed a narrow 51 percent lead for the "Yes" camp. Nearly all ballots had been opened for counting, Anadolu said, although a lag between opening and counting them could see the lead tighten even further.

Residents Protest Against the Referendum Results

Residents in several neighbourhoods of Turkey's largest city Istanbul banged pots and pans from their windows on Sunday in a traditional form of protest as President Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory.

Residents protested in at least four districts of Istanbul, witnesses said. Video and pictures posted on social media showed small pockets of protesters taking to the streets in some areas.

The legitimacy of Turkey's referendum on an executive presidency is open to debate, the head of the main opposition party said on Sunday, as he criticised the High Electoral Board for making the vote "controversial".

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People's Party, also said that those who advocated a "Yes" vote in the referendum may have gone beyond the boundaries of the law.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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