President, PM slam efforts to delegitimize referendum results

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.04.2017 21:43

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binalı Yıldırım have said that no state can question the functioning of Turkish democracy, adding that "there is no more superior court or institution than Turkey's Supreme Election Board regarding the election."

President Erdoğan on Thursday said that Turkey cannot allow other countries, especially the European Union, to question Turkish democracy.

"We cannot allow some institutions and states, especially the European Union, to question the democracy of our country after the results of April 16 referendum," Erdoğan said during a meeting in Istanbul to mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Turkey's Constitutional Court.

Erdoğan went on, saying that, "Turkey is a country that made its decision on the subject of democracy and the rule of law on July 15 without any doubt," referring to last year's failed July 15 coup attempt perpetrated by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which resulted in the deaths of 249 people.

The president also touched on the issue on Friday at the Atlantic Council Energy Summit in Istanbul and reminded people of the U.S. presidential elections, "where presidents have been elected with 51-52 percent of votes."

"Mr. Trump won the latest election by receiving less votes than his opponent, [Hillary] Clinton due to their system. Mr. Trump continues to do his duty now," he said.

More than 50 percent of Turkish citizens voted "yes" to a presidential system in the April 16 referendum, but several European institutions have raised concerns, arguing that such a change would weaken the independence of the judiciary.

A Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) report on Turkey's constitutional referendum seriously harmed already strained relations between Turkey and the EU, as some contributors to the report, including German Left Party (Die Linke) lawmaker Andrej Hunko and Danish Enhedslisten party Nikolaj Villumsen, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) observers in the referendum, were revealed as sympathizers of the PKK terrorist organization, which actively worked for the "no" side during the referendum campaign.

The issue led to a new crisis between Ankara and the bloc, and Turkish politicians slammed PACE's choice of PKK sympathizers deputies to observe and write a report.

After criticisms, PACE decided to reopen the monitoring procedure in respect to Turkey, which has been under a post-monitoring dialogue since 2004 during the Spring Part Session on April 25. Turkey condemned the decision and said it had been made with political motives.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday blasted the main opposition party's appeal to suspend the official referendum results, saying "nobody has the right to change the decision of the people."

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Yıldırım said, "While the people have accepted a certain thing, the main opposition party does not accept it.

"Nobody has the right to overturn the decision made by the people in a court."

His remarks came after the Republican People's Party (CHP) approached the Council of State, urging the court to suspend the official referendum results.

On Thursday, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) released a decision explaining the reason for rejecting petitions submitted by three political parties to cancel Turkey's April 16 constitutional referendum.

The board in a statement defended its decision to accept unstamped ballot papers before the boxes were closed for vote counting, saying it had been objective, and in line with the principle of equality and impartiality.

"Neither the European Court of Human Rights, nor the Constitutional Court nor any other can change this decision of the people. The decision of the millions can only be changed by the people again. I think these efforts are all in vain," Yıldırım declared.

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