Turkish electoral board rejects request to annul referendum
Apr 21 2017 by Desiree Burns
Thousands have protested in Istanbul and Ankara since Sunday's referendum, which has set into motion the transformation of Turkey's system of government from a parliamentary to a presidential one.
The Istanbul Bar Association on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against electoral board head Sadi Guven for "wrongful conduct" and "altering the result of the election".
To the dismay of opposition parties and "No" supporters, the YSK made a last-minute decision on Sunday to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp.
The leader of Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, slammed on Tuesday the decision of Supreme Election Board to count unsealed ballots in the referendum. The decision led protesters in Istanbul to call for the resignation of board members while the main opposition party said it would take the decision to Turkey's top court.
Prime Minister and AKP leader Binali Yildirim said Erdogan could rejoin the party he founded in 2001 once official results - expected before the end of the month - were announced.
The U.S. State Department said it had taken note of the European monitors' concerns and looked forward to a final report, urging the Turkish government to protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, however they voted. He added that "we expect the main opposition party's leader to act more responsibly".
Some 2,000 protesters in Istanbul Wednesday evening demanded the resignation of the electoral board and chanted "Don't be silent, shout out, "no" to the presidency".
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According to unofficial results, the "yes" campaign won with 51.41 percent, while the "no" votes stood at 48.59 percent.
Worldwide election monitors, including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have expressed concern over the way the vote was carried out.
On Monday, the White House said in a statement that Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him on his referendum victory and to thank him for supporting a US missile attack on Syria in response to a chemical attack by Syrian government forces on April 4.
Erdogan has dismissed the criticism from the observers, telling the monitors to "know your place".
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded to the report earlier on Wednesday, saying it has "no reliability as their observations lack objectivity and are extremely partial".