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Erdogan claims victory amid growing concern over legitimacy of results


04-18-2017 14:01 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

Turkey's Council of Ministers decided on Monday to extend by three months a state of emergency declared in the wake of a failed July 2016 coup.

Meanwhile, one day after a historic referendum vote in Turkey - the country is debating the validity of the results. A slim majority outcome gave sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - and proof of a country more divided than ever.

Half of Turkey is celebrating the vote Sunday to shift to a Presidential system the other half strongly opposing the change with the NO campaign winning a majority in three major cities; Istanbul, Izmir and the capital Ankara.

Yet the YES vote prevailed -- with a little over 51% of support, according to initial results which are to become official in 12 days.

The referendum result has already created some controversial debate. Turkey's main opposition Republican People's party - CHP has cited irregularities and has called for the cancellation of the vote.

"The only decision that will end the debate about the legitimacy (of the vote) and ease the people's legal concerns is the annulment of this referendum by the High Electoral Board," said Bulent Tezcan, Deputy Chairman of People's Republican Party, CHP.

CHP Deputy Chairman Tezcan was referring to the Electoral Board's last minute decision to count unstamped votes.

The Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party made similar complaints.

Yet the Electoral Board stood by and defended its decision.

"The envelopes and ballot papers, that are alleged to be invalid and have sparked controversy since last night, are genuinely produced by YSK and they are not fake," said Sadi Guven, Chairman of the High Electoral Board.

Adding to the mix - was a statement made by European monitors saying the referendum did not live up to the standards of the Council of Europe - citing an imbalanced referendum campaign process.

Nevertheless - crowds gathered to welcome and cheer Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he made celebratory rounds both in Istanbul and Ankara. The next elections are expected in November 2019.

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