Turkish opposition says appealing referendum on Erdogan powers


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said he would meet new U.S. leader Donald Trump for the first time as head of state in mid-May in the United States.

Turkish media said a meeting with Putin would be held on May 3.

"I will be travelling to China, and after China I will be traveling to the United States", he said.

The two leaders have talked on the telephone three times since Trump took office, including on Monday following Erdogan's narrow victory in a referendum on constitutional changes to give the president new powers.

The White House has not confirmed the meeting, which would take place before the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels later in the month.

Turkey hopes ties with the Trump administration will improve after relations soured between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies during Barack Obama's term over Syria and Turkey's calls for US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen to be extradited. But with diplomatic relations frayed and worldwide concerns over the result's legitimacy, it seems unlikely they can count on it - hence why a large majority (67%) of our readers thought that investors will remain too uncertain over Turkey's future to start betting big on Erdogan's reform plans.

Gulen is accused of ordering last July's failed coup and Ankara has repeatedly called for his extradition.

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The CHP, the largest opposition party in parliament, said on Wednesday it would never accept the legitimacy of the result of the referendum, raising the spectre of even withdrawing from the legislature. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had claimed major ballot rigging swung the result.

Bozdag said all decisions on electoral issues, including complaints and fraud allegations, are in the purview of Turkey's electoral board.

As for the Constitutional Court, "this is not part of its jurisdiction" while the European judicial instance "does not have a mandate this is a domestic affair", said Erdogan.

But Erdogan mocked CHP suggestions that it would now ask Turkey's Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights to cancel the referendum.

"They want to silence the citizens of this country", said 30-year-old Sertac Babat, who believes, along with many "no" voters, that the referendum result should be voided because of voting irregularities.

The CHP has led the criticism of the April 16 referendum result, particularly the YSK's decision to include ballot papers unverified by local electoral boards in the count.