Turkey: Erdogan declares victory in power-grab referendum

Turkey: Erdogan declares victory in power-grab referendum
Erdogan in the limelight after arriving at Ataturk Airport the morning of 16 Jul. (Image: Screen grab of France24 video via YouTube)

[Ed. – Not a surprise.  The hope that there might be someone to stop him is gone.  Erdogan has been systematically weeding out his opposition for the last decade and a half.  The concentration of presidential power accomplished by this referendum is the final nail in the coffin of Ataturk’s Turkey.]

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in a close vote on constitutional changes that would concentrate more power in his office and usher in some of the most radical changes since the 1923 founding of the republic.

The referendum was marred by allegations of fraud, with opposition leaders vowing to demand a recount. Opponents of Mr. Erdogan on Sunday night were massed in protest in Ankara, the capital, even as supporters of the president were holding congratulatory demonstrations elsewhere in the city. …

The contested results could lead to heightened tension with Europe, where officials have expressed wariness about a further concentration of power for Mr. Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 14 years and could now stay on as head of state for another decade. …

Unofficial results showed Mr. Erdogan’s “yes” side garnering 51.2% of the vote, and 48.8% opposed, with 100% of the ballots counted, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. Official tallies aren’t expected for at least 10 days, according to the head of Turkey’s election board, as they investigate widespread allegations of ballot tampering and other irregularities leveled by the major opposition parties.

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