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Erdogan calls west “crusaders” over referendum fraud criticism

Turkish President denies any fraud took place in the referendum

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted international observers over allegations that the results of Sunday’s referendum, which saw the “Yes” vote prevail by a small margin (51.4%). “The most democratic elections were held in this country, more so than anywhere in the west”, the Turkish President said. Mr. Erdogan outrightly denied that there was any fraud involved in the electoral process, despite international criticism.

Mrs. Erdogan made reference to the mentality of “the crusaders of the West and their servants in Turkey that were attacking the country”. Alev Korun, a member of the Austrian parliament and the European Council’s special mission of observers claimed electoral wrongdoings during the referendum could have changed the result. “There are suspicions that more than 2.5 million votes had been tampered with”, she told Austrian radio.

“The referendum took place in a political environment in which fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency, and the two sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to the voters,” Tana de Zulueta, head of the ODIHR limited election observation mission, said.

Meanwhile, MEP and head of the EP’s ALDE group Guy Verhofstadt said that the allegations were sufficient for the EU to suspend talks of Turkey’s EU admission. The head of the Turkish main opposition party “The Republican People’s Party” (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu is reported to be considering calling for a partial recoount.

Sunday’s referendum result effectively transfers complete executive powers to Mr. Erdogan, a development many international pundits dub as the end of the Kemalist secular era and a return to a form of Ottoman rule.