Turkey referendum: HDP hopes result will ‘open new door to peace’

HDP lawmakers Osman Baydemir (left) and Sirri Sureyya Onder voted in Ankara, 16 April 2017 (Photo: DHA).

Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Sirri Sureyya Onder, Osman Baydemir, Dirayet Tasdemir and Ertugrul Kurkcu cast their votes in Turkey’s referendum in Ankara.

Speaking to journalists after voting, HDP deputy and Spokesperson Osman Baydemir said his party, which has campaigned for a ‘No’ vote, hoped the result would “open new doors to peace.”

“We hope democracy, freedoms and the country come out victorious. We hope the result opens the door to an honourable peace.”

Baydemir also voiced concerns about violations and fraud saying protection people’s votes was as important as voting.

Dozens of reports of violations and fraud have been reported on by opposition media so far, especially in the country’s Kurdish majority southeast.

International observers were prevented from entering polling stations in southeastern Batman and Diyarbakir provinces.

A photo from another southeastern city, Van, showed soldiers standing over ballot boxes, an illegal procedure. A video also showed a pro-Erdogan village chief entering voting cubicles with voters and checking their votes.

Casting his vote in Istanbul, Turkey’s President Erdogan, who hopes a ‘Yes’ vote will bolster his powers said the vote was not an ordinary one.

“There have been many referendums in the history of our republic, but this is for the choice of a new system of government, change and transformation.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaking to journalists in Istanbul said, “We carried an extremely beautiful campaign. We embraced all citizens and did not exclude anyone. We are voting on the fate of Turkey.”

According to pollsters the result of the referendum is expected to be very close.