(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
ANKARA - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told international election observers to "know their place" on Monday after they criticized a referendum granting him sweeping new powers, and said it was not so important to Turkey if the EU broke off accession talks.
Addressing crowds of flag-waving supporters from the steps of the presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan said Sunday's vote had ended all debate on changing the constitution and creating an executive presidency. Implementing the reforms would now begin, starting with the judiciary, he said.
Election authorities said preliminary results showed 51.4 percent of voters had backed the biggest overhaul of Turkish politics since the founding of the modern republic in Sunday's referendum. European monitors said the vote did not live up to international standards.
Erdogan said that Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" reports by the OSCE observer mission and said that some countries in Europe had been more opposed to the constitutional changes than even Turkey's own opposition.
He also vowed that Turkey's "Euphrates Shield" incursion into northern Syria would not be its last such venture in the region but its first, saying it would carry out as many military operations as necessary, wherever necessary, in its fight against terrorism.