Turkey vote: Fraud ruled out

2017-04-17 12:13
An Erdogan supporter holds a placard in Ankara. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

An Erdogan supporter holds a placard in Ankara. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

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Ankara - The head of Turkey's electoral board has rejected suggestions of fraud in Turkey's referendum that will grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vast new powers.

Two opposition parties have complained of a number of irregularities in Sunday's vote, including an electoral board decision to accept as valid ballots that did not bear the official stamp.

Sadi Guven, who heads the Supreme Electoral Board, defended the decision, telling reporters on Monday that it was taken to ensure that voters who were by mistakenly given unstamped ballot papers would not be "victimised". 

He insisted none of the ballot papers that were declared as valid was fake or fraudulently cast.

Meanwhile, Germany has called on the Turkish government to engage in a "respectful dialogue with all political and civilian forces of the country" after "the narrow outcome of the referendum showed how deeply Turkish society is divided".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a joint statement on Sunday the German government respects the Turkish people's right to decide over their constitution. But the two German leaders also said that President Erdogan carries "big responsibility" for the country's next steps.

They pointed out that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe had already last week expressed doubt about the whether the conditions for the vote were fair.

Merkel and Gabriel said that Turkey - as an OSCE member and European Union candidate country - needs to consider these concerns.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  recep tayyip erdogan  |  germany  |  turkey

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