The supporters of the “No” campaign march to submit a petition for the annulment of a referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the results, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 18, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Turkey’s justice minister says the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has no jurisdiction to rule on appeals against the result of the recent referendum in the country that expanded President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.
Minister Bekir Bozdag made the remarks on Thursday, a day after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said it might take its appeal against the referendum result to Turkey’s Constitutional Court or the ECHR.
Turkey’s highest electoral authority, the High Electoral Board (YSK), earlier rejected its appeal, which had been made over complaints of vote-rigging.
The justice minister further said any challenge would have to be rejected.
“If the opposition takes the appeal to the Constitutional Court, the court has no other option than to reject it,” Bozdag told television news channel A Haber.
“It (the opposition) can also apply to the ECHR, but it cannot achieve a result there either, because the agreements Turkey signed do not give parties the right to apply,” he said.
The YSK said it had assessed appeals from the CHP, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), and the Vatan Party, at a seven-hour meeting and rejected them by 10 to one votes.
“We will demand the rights of the voters until the end,” CHP representative at the YSK, Mehmet Hatimi Yakupoglu, told reporters outside the board’s headquarters in Ankara on Wednesday.
In the Sunday referendum, the “Yes” campaign won over 51 percent of the vote, while the “No” campaign gained nearly 49 percent.
Since a declaration of victory by Erdogan that same day, protests have been held in the country. 
Bozdag, the justice minister, also reiterated the Turkish government’s criticism of a report by European monitors that questioned the referendum. Bozdag said it lacked fairness and objectivity.
“Those who prepared this report are partial,” the minister added.
European election observers said the referendum campaign was conducted on an “unlevel playing field” and the vote count itself was marred by the late procedural changes that removed key safeguards, pointing to the move by the election authorities to allow voting documents without an official stamp.

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