Putin congratulates Erdogan over referendum win

Until now, Turkey's president was required to remain above party politics, a condition which was removed in one of the referendum's 18 amendments.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Donald Trump in May, the Turkish foreign minister said today, after the United States president congratulated the Turkish leader for winning a referendum on enhancing his powers. The European Union, anxious also by threats from Erdogan to restore capital punishment, has been far from effusive in its response, yet Trump late Monday congratulated Erdogan in a phone call.

Following Sunday's referendum, Germany's opposition The Left Party has demanded the suspension of Ankara's European Union talks arguing that the transition to a presidential system would move Turkey away from democracy. But if unresolved, they will leave deep questions over the legitimacy of a vote which split the electorate down the middle, and whose polarizing campaign drew criticism and concern from European allies.

His comments came as the YSK met to evaluate appeals to annul the referendum and after the bar association and an worldwide monitor said the board had acted illegally by allowing unstamped ballot papers to be counted, and may have swung the vote.

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The TBB also claimed that the YSK decision led to irregularities and stopped the keeping of records that could uncover irregularities.

"Therefore we do not have any difficulties on that front", Erdogan said. "We will evaluate tomorrow whether we will take the decision to the Constitutional Court or to the European Court of Human Rights", CHP deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan told reporters in comments broadcast live on television.

"From now on, covers without cartoons will also be counted as valid", said the caption, in reference to the controversy over the counting of unstamped ballots.

Turkey's main opposition party has slammed the country's electoral board, accusing it of bias and favoring the ruling party.

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To the dismay of opposition parties and "No" supporters, the YSK made a last-minute decision on Sunday to accept ballot papers in envelopes without an official stamp. There were widespread expectations he would take over the leadership nearly immediately after the vote.

Unofficial results show a narrow win for Erdogan's "yes" campaign, which garnered 51.4 percent of the vote. Erdogan argues that concentration of power in the presidency is needed to prevent instability. He accused the board of "changing the rules midgame". Turkey's main opposition party has filed a formal request seeking Sun. "The will of the people was freely reflected into the ballot boxes, and this business is over". "Everyone should respect the outcome, especially the main opposition".

"Efforts to cast a shadow on the result of the vote by spreading rumours of fraud are futile and in vain", Yildirim said.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday that if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved "from rhetoric to action on the issue of the death penalty (it) would be clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family". As I said this will come before the parliament and if it is passed from the parliament, I would approve this.

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