‘Turkish opposition trying to justify failure by appealing referendum results’

Turkish opposition is attempting to justify its defeat at Sunday’s constitutional referendum by claiming voting violations took place during the vote and appealing to cancel the referendum’s results, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Sadi Guven, the president of Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK), said that the YSK would evaluate the appeals of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) disputing the referendum on Wednesday.

“The CHP is seeking to justify its failure. It will be better, if they look at themselves,” Bozdag said, as quoted by the NTV broadcaster.

During Sunday’s referendum, Turkish citizens supported the government-backed constitutional changes to shift to a presidential system, and therefore broaden the sitting president’s powers. The preliminary results showed that “yes” votes stood at 51.41 percent with nearly all the ballots counted. The reforms had already been cleared by the Turkish parliament and were signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before Sunday’s vote, but will only become final after a 12-day period when appeals are dealt with.

The opposition has claimed that violations in voting conduct have been committed and slammed the election committee for declaring unstamped ballots as valid. On Tuesday, the CHP, which is the main Turkish opposition party, demanded that YSK cancel the results of the constitutional referendum and filed the relevant appeal.

On Monday, the OSCE observer mission stated that the “no” campaign did not receive the same opportunities as the “yes” campaign, adding that voters also did not receive impartial information about the key points of the proposed amendments. The OSCE concluded that the referendum did not meet the standards of the Council of Europe.

Erdogan refuted the OSCE findings, calling them “politically motivated,” and added that the OSCE observers “should know their limits.”