First Published: 2017-04-21

Turkey opposition to appeal referendum at top court
Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to challenge last-minute change in voting rules for Sunday's referendum at top court.
Middle East Online

Woman holds a banner reading, "Dear Ataturk, honesty didn't work again"

ANKARA - Turkey's main opposition party said Friday it would challenge at a top court a last-minute change to voting rules in last weekend's referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

The 'Yes' side won 51.4 percent of the vote in Sunday's referendum on creating an executive presidency, axing the role of prime minister from 2019.

But there was anger and shock after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) made a last-minute decision to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp, which the opposition argues opened the way for fraud.

"We are opening a case at the Council of State calling for the cancellation of YSK's decision to allow unsealed ballots," the Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy leader Bulent Tezcan said in a statement, quoted by CNN Turk broadcaster.

The Council of State, set up during the Ottoman empire, is the country's highest administrative court.

Together with the third largest pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the CHP called for the referendum to be annulled this week.

On Wednesday, 10 members of the YSK decided against annulling the vote, while only one voted in favour.

In the statement, Tezcan urged the results not to be finalised until the case was concluded and said the party's lawyer would deliver the paperwork to the court later on Friday afternoon.

"Whether citizens said 'Yes' or 'No', we will continue our legal fight until the end to protect the rights of the 49 million citizens who voted," Tezcan said.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim responded by saying it was "not the democratic way to go to court, to make complaints to fix the people's decision".

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Yildirim said the CHP and others had the right to challenge but "there was nothing we could say about using this".

Yildirim added: "The people have made their decision.... Disagreeing with the people's decision suggests not believing in democracy as much as necessary."

He described such efforts as "futile" and said there was "no point in wasting more of everyone's time".

 

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Bitcoin appeal beats ban and warnings in Jordan

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish 'scourges'

Israeli police find missing Briton’s belongings in desert

Algeria gas plant workers mark five years since jihadist siege

UN says over 5000 children killed or injured in Yemen war

European leaders’ response to Iran protests raises questions

Erdogan to visit Pope Francis next month

Iran slams US-backed 'border security force' in Syria

Palestinian suspension of Israel recognition unlikely for now

Jordan to hike fuel, bread prices

Yemen rebels free journalist detained since August

Palestinian reconciliation brings no change for Gazans

Sudan police use force, tear gas against protesters

Both hardliners and moderates have failed Iranians

Erdogan says Turkish military op in Syria's Afrin to be supported by rebels

UAE to lodge complaint over Qatar flight 'interception'

UN says 22 million Yemenis in need of aid

Minorities in north Iraq look to post-jihadist future