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Germany says tight referendum result a big responsibility for Erdogan

18 April 2017
Germany says tight referendum result a big responsibility for Erdogan

Iraq's parliament Monday welcomed a win by the Yes vote in Sunday's historic referendum on Turkey's transition to a presidential system.

The monitors - a partnership of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe - said that the "yes" campaign dominated media coverage, that voters were not provided with adequate information, that opposition voices were muzzled and that the rules were changed at the last minute.

An global observer mission that monitored the voting also found irregularities, saying the conduct of Sunday's referendum "fell short" of the worldwide standards.

At a press conference at the party headquarters in Ankara, Tezcan said the only possible solution to the debates over the referendum's legitimacy were for it to be cancelled by the electoral council.

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. OSCE/ODIHR Delegation Chair Tana de Zulueta said changes in the vote-counting procedure had lifted significant assurances and that it was against the law.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party and top "no" campaigner, has said the result of the vote will remain unclear until they appeal to the High Electoral Board over "voter irregularities".

The package of 18 amendments would abolish the office of prime minister and give the president the authority to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees overseeing ministries without parliamentary approval.

Germany, host to some 4 million Turks, said it was up to Erdogan himself to heal the rifts that the vote had exposed.

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.

Erdal Aksunger of the Republican People's Party called for a partial recount.

The margin fell short of the sweeping victory the 63-year-old Erdogan had sought in the referendum.

The margin could cement President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's hold on power in Turkey for a decade and is expected to have a huge effect on the country's long-term political future and its worldwide relations.

The country's pro-Kurdish party said it may take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if the electoral board does not reverse its decision and nullify the ballots lacking the official stamps.

If the opposition failed to support such a bill, he said another referendum could be held on reinstating the death penalty.

But there were just as many who were devastated by the result.

The changes would come into effect with the next general elections, scheduled for 2019.

Umut Serin, a 32-year-old marine engineer who was working at a polling station in central Istanbul told CNN: "The government tried to reflect it as if the "yes" votes were clearly ahead, from the very start".