European Union leaders urge Erdogan to show restraint post referendum victory

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in Sunday's closely contested national referendum in Turkey even as opposition parties and global observers pointed to irregularities in the voting that will dramatically reshape Turkish politics, jettisoning the country's parliamentary democracy and granting sweeping executive power and near absolute control to the country's president.

"What is disconcerting for him [Erdogan] is not just the opposition, which is crying foul, but the fact that nearly 50 percent of the people voted against this massive change and may not be willing to accept the result easily", Aliriza said.

That appeared short of the decisive victory for which he and the ruling AK Party had aggressively campaigned.

The referendum, which consisted of 18 amendments to the country's constitution, primarily deals with the powers of the executive and legislative branches.

"The two leaders agreed that [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad should be held accountable for the actions he has taken", added a statement from Erdogan's office, in a Washington Post report. President Barack Obama initially viewed Erdogan as a possible model for a new generation of Muslim leaders and traveled to Turkey early in his first year in office.

The president will also no longer have to be neutral.

"On referendum day there were no major problems, except in some regions, however we can only regret the absence of civil society observers in polling stations", said Cezar Florin Preda, Head of the delegation from PACE.

Global election monitors have condemned the Turkish government's handling of the vote as "inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum", according to CNN.

Restrictions on media outlets, arrests of journalists, inadequate legal framework and late changes in ballot counting were cited by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that monitored the vote. For this reason alone, the opposition parties are calling for the vote to be cancelled and redone.

Deputy chairman of the People's Republican Party (CHP), Bulent Tezcan, said the party had received complaints from many regions that people had been unable to vote in privacy and said that some ballots were counted in secret.

The narrow vote was ruled valid by Turkey's electoral body, despite claims of irregularities by the opposition.

Erdogan has said that the referendum would help protect Turkey from future coup attempts as well as strengthen its economy.

The cabinet said it hoped the vote would contribute to "more development success across the country".

The vote has effectively divided Turkey.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" reports by the OSCE observer mission and said some countries in Europe had been more opposed to the constitutional changes than even Turkey's own opposition.



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