U.S. says notes concerns of European monitors in Turkey referendum

Tana de Zuleta of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the vote, said the ballot decision undermined important safeguards against fraud and contradicted Turkey's own laws.

Although opponents have questioned the result, the head of the country's electoral body says it is valid.

Ahead of the announcement from the observers, the deputy leader of Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) called for the results to be annulled.

Tezcan said they will present their objection to the Supreme Electoral Commission.

Turkey's High Electoral Board made a last-minute decision on Sunday to count ballots that had not been stamped by officials.

The referendum has no "democratic legitimacy", HDP spokesman and MP Osman Baydemir told reporters in Ankara.

Preda was joined by Tana de Zulueta, head of another team of worldwide observers, who said the referendum fell short of global standards. "The legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process", said Cezar Florin Preda, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

He said a similar procedure had been used in past elections.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, waves to supporters in Istanbul, on Sunday, April 16, 2017.

But many also fear that the new system will endanger democracy in Turkey - a key USA ally and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member. Resetting term limits for president, meaning Erdogan could serve until 2029 if he wins elections in 2019 and 2024.

Throughout the campaign, Erdogan launched bitter attacks on the European Union, accusing member states of behaving like the Third Reich in failing to allow his ministers to campaign among expats. Instead, as he pointed out, it is necessary to reach "a neighborhood agreement" with Turkey.

"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", said Tana de Zulueta of the global referendum observation mission.

But little did one expect that Erdogan wanted to turn Turkey from parliamentary form of democracy to a presidential republic where there is no place for a Prime Minister.

If the opposition failed to support such a bill, he said another referendum could be held on reinstating the death penalty.

Among concerns, the OSCE said the referendum did not sufficiently provide impartial media coverage and did not guarantee eligible political parties equal access to public media, which gave "preference to the ruling party and the president in the allocation of free airtime".

There was talk Erdogan would call an election so his powers could take effect. The change would also lower the minimum age for lawmakers from 25 to 18, increase the number of seats in parliament from 550 to 600, close down military courts, and introduce same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years.

If Turkey were to hold a referendum on bringing back capital punishment it would be a break with European values, the Hollande's office warned.

Erdogan announced his victory in Sunday's tightly-contested referendum, with about 25 million Turks supporting his proposal and the "Yes" camp garnering some 51.5 percent of the vote, according to the latest figures provided by Reuters.

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