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Erdogan slams criticism of disputed Turkey poll

Erdogan slams

ANKARA, APR 18, (DNA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday angrily rejected criticism by international monitors of a referendum granting him extra powers that was disputed by the opposition and exposed bitter divisions in the country.

The referendum was seen as crucial not just for shaping Turkey s political system but also the future strategic direction of a nation that has been a NATO member since 1952 and a European Union hopeful for half a century.

Returning in triumph to his presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan addressed thousands of supporters gathered outside, telling monitors who criticised the poll: “Know your place.”

Showing no sign of pulling his punches, Erdogan said Turkey could hold further referendums on its EU bid and re-introducing the death penalty.

The “Yes” camp won 51.41 percent in Sunday s referendum, according to complete results released by election authorities.

But the opposition immediately cried foul, claiming a clean vote would have made a difference of several percentage points and handed them victory.

The main opposition Republican People s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples  Democratic Party (HDP) said they would challenge the results from most ballot boxes due to alleged violations.

“There is only one decision to ease the situation in the context of the law — the Supreme Election Board (YSK) should annul the vote,” the Dogan news agency quoted CHP deputy leader Bulent Tezcan as saying.The referendum has no “democratic legitimacy”, HDP spokesman and lawmaker Osman Baydemir told reporters in Ankara.

US President Donald Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory, while EU leaders gave more reserved responses.

The White House said Trump spoke with Erdogan “to congratulate him on his recent referendum victory” and to discuss Syria and the fight against the Islamic State group.

There were protests in Istanbul with a few thousand people crowding the anti-Erdogan Besiktas and Kadikoy districts, blowing whistles and chanting “We are shoulder to shoulder against fascism”.

Others brandished viral hashtag slogans from the referendum night like “The  No  is not finished” and ” No  has won”. =DNA

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