Opposition to challenge votes on expanding Turkey president's powers

Erdogan declared victory in Sunday's historic referendum that will grant sweeping powers to the presidency hailing the result as a

But he quickly reverted to a more abrasive style when addressing thousands of flag-waving supporters in Istanbul.

The narrowness and dubious nature of Erdogan's electoral "success" is unlikely to make him more conciliatory and, going by his actions after failing to get the majority he wanted in a general election in 2015, he will become even more aggressive in stamping out opposition.

The president will appoint the cabinet and a number of vice presidents, and the country's leader will be able to dismiss senior civil servants without obtaining approval from the parliament.

There has been some speculation that Erdogan could call a new election so that his new powers could take effect right away, but Simsek dismissed that.

It is due to come into force after elections in November 2019.

As the opposition raged against the electoral board, the atmosphere at the victory rally remained steadfast in their support for their leader, with tones echoing the rhetoric of Erdogan's nationalist, conservative case that's dealt an increasingly authoritative hand to dissenting voices since a failed coup attempt last July.

They waved flags and lit firecrackers in the major cities of Turkey to celebrate the referendum victory.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has demanded a recount of 60 per cent of the votes. "They have caused the referendum's legitimacy to be questioned", said CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Opposition groups have vowed to challenge the outcome, as results indicated the narrowest of victories for the "yes" campaign.

In Besiktas, a neighbourhood in Istanbul where 83% voted a resounding No, hundreds took to the streets.

The lira strengthened more than 3.5 percent in Asian trade Sunday, from 3.74 to 3.63 against the greenback.

Several Turkish opposition groups claimed irregularities during the voting process and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that the referendum fell short of worldwide standards. During the referendum campaign, Ankara's relations soured with some European countries, notably Germany and the Netherlands.

Merkel and Gabriel pointed to the Commission's reservations and said that, as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE security and human rights watchdog and an European Union accession candidate, Turkey should quickly address those concerns.

Sunday's constitutional referendum filled newspaper pages and broadcast schedules across the globe as a worldwide audience watched the vote unfold. The electoral board insists the referendum result is valid, however.

"Today, Turkey has made a historic decision on a 200-year-old conflict in its administrative system..."

The referendum has bitterly divided the nation.

The Turkish referendum on presidential powers took place on an "unlevel playing field" and in a political environment where "fundamental freedoms" were curtailed, European observers of the campaign and voting day have said.

"I don't think one-man rule is such a scary thing". He said observers were not allowed to watch the proceedings for at least one-and-a-half hours until the party's complaint was accepted.

Opponents say it is a step toward greater authoritarianism.

"I voted "No" because I don't want this whole country and its legislative, executive and judiciary ruled by one man", said Hamit Yaz, 34, a ship's captain, after voting in Istanbul.

The victory of the yes campaign will consolidate Erdoğan's power, allowing him to run for two more election terms and potentially stay in power until 2029. Until 2014, presidents were chosen by parliament.



Other news