Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029.
With 99.45% of ballots counted, the “Yes” campaign had won 51.37% and “No” 48.63%, and the electoral board called victory for “Yes”.
Erdogan supporters say replacing the parliamentary system with an executive presidency will modernise the country.
Turkey’s two main opposition parties said they would challenge the results, BBC reports.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) demanded a recount of 60% of votes. They criticised a decision to accept unstamped ballot papers as valid unless proven otherwise.
As jubilant Erdogan supporters rallied in the big cities, pots and pans were banged in Istanbul by opponents of the referendum, in a traditional form of protest.
Three people were shot dead near a polling station in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir, reportedly during a dispute over how they were voting.
The European Commission called on the Turkish authorities in a statement to “seek the broadest possible national consensus” when implementing the constitutional reforms.
They are rejoicing into the night here outside the headquarters of the governing AK party (AKP), confident in the victory claimed by President Erdogan.
He and his government say more than 51% of voters have backed the constitutional reform but the opposition has cried foul, claiming massive irregularities over invalid votes and vowing to challenge the result at the supreme electoral board.
Mr Erdogan said the clear victory needed to be respected. In a typically rabble-rousing speech, he proposed another referendum on reinstating the death penalty, which would end Turkey’s EU negotiations.
But this has not been the resounding win he wanted and doubts will linger over its legitimacy. It was hoped this vote might bring Turkey stability but that still seems some way off. (PMNEWS)