'Controversial & unfair': Turkish opposition files appeal for referendum annulment

Supporters of the'no vote  chant slogans during a protest against the referendum outcome in Istanbul Tuesday

Supporters of the'no vote chant slogans during a protest against the referendum outcome in Istanbul Tuesday

Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) rejected on Wednesday main opposition parties' appeals to annul the constitutional referendum results.

Before the electoral board's announcement, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the opposition had the right to file objections, but warned that calling for street protests was unacceptable.

The YSK released a written statement following the meeting, saying that the board agreed to reject the petitions submitted by the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Patriotic Party to annul the April 16 constitutional reform referendum.

Yildirim said the "the path to seek rights" should be limited to legal objections.

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. He added that "we expect the main opposition party's leader to act more responsibly".

The referendum on constitutional amendments that would expand the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was held in Turkey on Sunday, with 51.4 percent of voters supporting the proposed amendments.

"The main opposition party not recognizing the results is not an acceptable thing", Yildirim said.

The Istanbul Bar Association filed a criminal complaint against electoral board head Sadi Guven for "wrongful conduct" and "altering the result of the election".

The board met for seven hours Wednesday before rejecting the request.

The brief statement - issued on Monday evening - underlines the USA need for Turkey's support for the Trump administration's new policy of increasing pressure on the Syrian government, as there's only one reference to the April 16 referendum in Turkey and three to the crisis in Syria.

Meanwhile, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe also said earlier this week that "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in the vote.

The German government has also questioned the vote after the European Union called for a probe into the result. "From the German government's point of view, Turkey must. clear up the questions that have been raised". Observers said this decision, made in the afternoon of election day, removed an important safeguard against fraud.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu on Wednesday accused the OSCE of bias and deliberately putting errors into its report.

Trump telephoned Erdogan on Monday to "congratulate" him on "his referendum victory" and to discuss last week's USA cruise missile strike on Syria and cooperation in the campaign there against the Islamic State, a White House statement said.

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