Trump congratulates Erdogan for referendum win

Image of German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Moscow Russia on 9 March 2017

Image of German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Moscow Russia on 9 March 2017

A Turkish government minister on Tuesday (April 18) blasted the EU's "unacceptable" appeal for a probe into alleged irregularities in the referendum on boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers. But by effectively ending Ankara's decades-long European Union accession bid, it could be a tough sell to the millions of Turks in bustling port cities, trade and tourist hubs who voted "No" in Sunday's vote.

Responding to the results, Erdogan said Turkey had made a historic decision in backing an executive presidential system, adding that the "Yes" camp had secured 25 million referendum votes, 1.3 million ahead of "No".

Turkey's "yes" campaign was led by the governing AK Party and supported by the right-wing MHP.

Bilginsoy contributed from Istanbul and Mehmet Guzel contributed from Ankara.

"We are here today for the sake of Turkey, to live together, to take a stand for our votes", protester Tezcan Karakus Candan said.

Furthermore, the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party complained that 3m votes had been unstamped.

Asked to comment about Erdogan's rebuke, de Zulueta said: "I don't have an opinion, we are invited by the Turkish authorities to observe. It is wrong to speak after the people have spoken".

In an interview in the Bild newspaper to be published Tuesday, he warned Turkey that "joining would not work right now".

Turkey's three largest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - all voted "No" although "Yes" prevailed in Erdogan's Anatolian heartland.

Regardless of a dogged European campaign, following some controversial bans on the "yes" bloc and overt support for the naysayers, Turks in Europe overwhelmingly voted "yes", in favor of the proposed constitutional amendments.In Belgium, where voter turnout was above 53 percent, almost 75 percent of voters opted for "yes".

Italy's foreign minister called for Turkish opposition forces to be involved in reforms following the weekend's referendum.

HDP deputy chairman Mithat Sancar said the vote was undermined by the fact that the campaign was held under emergency rule while the party's co-leaders were under arrest, that its candidates for polling station monitors were rejected, and that state resources were used in the "yes" campaign.

Turkey blames Gulen and his supporters for orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt, a charge he denies.

"Moving from rhetoric to action on the issue of the death penalty would be a clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family", Ms. Schinas said.

Erdogan's margin of victory in the referendum was razor-thin.

"Now Erdogan will have to rule the part of Turkey most open to the world, with the highest cultural production, export capacity, tourism revenue and industrial output, with a constitution approved by its most introvert part", he wrote.

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