Turkey referendum: Erdogan dismisses criticism by monitors

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected criticism by monitors of Sunday's referendum in which he won sweeping new powers.

"Know your place," he said, after the observers said the president had been favoured by an "unequal" campaign.

The narrow victory was ruled valid by Turkey's electoral body, despite claims of irregularities by the opposition.

US President Donald Trump congratulated Mr Erdogan on his victory, as 51.4% of voters supported the changes.

In a phone call, Mr Trump also thanked the Turkish leader for supporting the US missile strike on a Syrian government airbase on 7 April, the White House said.

In a separate development, Turkey extended the state of emergency for three months. The measure, introduced after a failed coup last July, was set to expire in two days.

Despite saying that the voting day was "well administered", the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe criticised the campaign, saying:

It was an "unlevel playing field" and the two sides of the campaign "did not have equal opportunities"

It was unbalanced due to the active involvement of the president and several senior officials

It was tarnished by a number of officials equating No supporters with terrorist sympathisers

State resources were misused

Under the state of emergency, essential fundamental freedoms were curtailed

Despite some measures, the legal framework remained inadequate for a genuinely democratic referendum

"In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards," said Cezar Florin Preda, head of the Council of Europe delegation.

The council is a pan-European human rights body of which Turkey is a member.

The monitors also criticised a late change by electoral officials that allowed voting papers without official stamps to be counted. They said this move "removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition.

But the head of Turkey's electoral body, Sadi Guven, said the unstamped ballot papers had been produced by the High Electoral Board and were valid. He said a similar procedure had been used in past elections.


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