The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has determined a total of 11 alleged voting irregularities in the April 16 constitutional referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.The last-minute decision of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to accept unstamped ballot papers as valid is included in the CHP’s report of alleged irregularities, prepared based on the applications of polling clerks in the first two days after the vote. The YSK decision to accept unstamped ballot papers “unless it can be proven that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum, in which the “yes” campaign narrowly emerged as the winner with 51.4 percent of the votes.
The referendum result is dubious and the office that cast doubt on the referendum is the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, accusing the election watchdog of violating the constitution and manipulating the poll results. Slamming YSK’s earlier decision that deemed unsealed ballots valid on the referendum, Kılıçdaroğlu accused the members of the top election board for being influenced by a political authority. He said the decision was against the bylaw which “clearly states that the unsealed ballots will not be deemed valid”.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi has said Iran respects the results of Turkey’s referendum, as it is the decision of the Turkish nation. Ghasemi, who was attending his weekly press conference on Monday, made the remarks announcing Islamic Republic’s stance toward the referendum held in Turkey on Sunday; “it is an domestic issue of Turkey and Iran respects whatever the Turkish people vote for; it is too early to discuss the effects of the act yet we hope it would help peace and stability in the region and Turkey as well”. On trilateral military cooperation between Iran, Russia and Syria, Ghasemi, while underlining that the trilateral cooperation is a normal and longstanding one that also would include military collaborations when needed. “Iran objects any movement threatening territorial integrity of regional states; Iraq is not an exception and its sovereignty is an absolute rule for Islamic Republic; therefore Iran backs coexistence of all ethnic and religious groups within the frames of Iraqi government and its constitution”, the spokesman said while responding to a question of Iraqi Kurdistan. On US and its recent military measures in the region, Ghasemi said “they seem to stem from US’ bewilderment and its domestic issues rather than being a pure military action; they were to do something in Middle East to earn at home and deliver certain messages to their allies in the region; yet they are the ones who will lose at the end”, condemning US attacks on Syria and Afghanistan calling them politically-motivated. “Iran’s stance on recent developments in Syria is clear; we strongly condemned the attacks and called for establishment of a fact-finding committee”, he said adding, “Moscow visit by Foreign Minister Zarif was necessary as consultations were needed between key players of Syrian issue; Turkey also would join the three states in Astana talks scheduled for May”. “Iran would not violate JCPOA and anyone who would preside the country is expected to take the same approach”, the Foreign Ministry spokesman reaffirmed when asked on violations of the deal by other parties.