Observer says 2.5 mln Turkish referendum votes could have been manipulated

By REUTERS
April 18, 2017 21:48
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VIENNA/BERLIN- Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday's Turkish referendum that ended in a close "yes" vote for greater presidential powers, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission said on Tuesday.

However Turkish authorities are not cooperating with efforts to investigate claims of possible election fraud, according to a senior official in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which conducted a separate monitoring mission.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed criticisms of the vote, saying foreign observers should "know their place." The foreign ministry said foreign monitors lacked objectivity and impartiality.

The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights body, had already pronounced the referendum to be an uneven contest. Support for "Yes" dominated campaign coverage, and the arrests of journalists and closure of media outlets silenced other views, according to Council of Europe and OSCE monitors.

Alev Korun, an Austrian member of the Council's observer team, said there were questions about the actual voting as well.

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