Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in a referendum that grants him sweeping new powers, as opposition parties alleged massive fraud.
With 98 per cent of ballots counted, the state-run Anadolu news agency had Turks approving the most radical constitutional overhaul since the republic was founded 93 years ago by 51.3 per cent to 48.7 per cent. The election board’s official tally is yet to be released. A win would give Erdogan authority to appoint ministers and top judges at his discretion and call elections at any time.
But as the president was calling “Yes” campaigners to congratulate them, broad swathes of the opposition were alleging foul play. Erdal Aksunger, the deputy head of the CHP, the largest opposition bloc, said Anadolu was “manipulating” results as it announced them.
Turkey is going from a parliamentary democracy to rule by “strongman” like Russia has. A sad end to a once great country that was a beacon of stability in the world.