Turkish opposition challenges referendum vote

The race was marred by divisive rhetoric, with the government equating no voters with terrorist groups and the opposition accusing the ruling party of seeking to install a dictatorship.

He has already been the most powerful man in Turkey for 14 years, and though he was democratically elected, he's a divisive politician, and his critics say the referendum is a step towards dictatorship, and it could change Turkey irrevocably.

"The Supreme Electoral Board changed rules mid-game, after the ballot envelopes were opened, in a way contrary to laws", said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the main opposition People's Republican Party.

The High Electoral Board at first said it would not accept ballots that were missing ballot commission stamps, But it announced a changed of course after voting was underway Sunday, saying it would accept unstamped ballots "unless they are proven to have been brought from outside".

HDP spokesman Osman Baydemir told reporters: "The referendum result is a clear sign that a societal agreement could not be reached".

The referendum campaign was heavily weighted in favor of the "yes" campaign, with Erdogan drawing on the full powers of the state and government to dominate the airwaves and billboards.

The 16 April constitutional referendum in Turkey was contested on an unlevel playing field, and the two sides in the campaign did not have equal opportunities, the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a report published on April 17. Global monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who also listed numerous irregularities, said the move undermined safeguards against fraud. "It's too late now".

The reaction from Trump contrasts with European Union leaders who have been reserved in their reaction to the narrow victory while monitors expressed concern over the "unlevel playing field".

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The new system would dispense with the office of prime minister and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the president, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers.

Such fears over the integrity and impartiality of state institutions - which has always been a problem in Turkey - are only likely to be enhanced by the new constitutional amendments, which give the president broader powers to hire and fire bureaucrats. Relations with Europe were strained during the referendum campaign when Germany and the Netherlands barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies.

Sunday's unemphatic result has formalised that control, but it is likely to even further undermine his authority in the eyes of roughly half of Turkey's electorate.

The outcome has laid bare deep political divisions in Turkey and could have wider resonance in everything from Turkey's decades-old bid for membership in the European Union and Turkish interactions within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to the USA -led coalition fighting the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.

Responding to chants from the crowd to reinstate the death penalty, Mr Erdogan said he would take up the issue with the country's political leaders, adding that the question could be put to another referendum.

French President Francois Hollande also urged dialogue between the political factions. "The tight referendum result shows how deeply divided Turkish society is and that means a big responsibility for the Turkish leadership and for President Erdoğan personally".

There has been some speculation that Erdogan could call new elections so that his new powers could take effect right away. However, officials said the elections would be held in 2019 as scheduled.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, praised the "success" of a referendum.

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