TURKEY MUST INVESTIGATE REFERENDUM DOUBTS: EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The European Commission called on Turkey Tuesday to investigate alleged irregularities in Sunday’s referendum boosting the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan and urged him to show restraint after his narrow victory.

“We call on the authorities to launch a transparent investigation into these alleged irregularities,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said when asked about the conclusions of the observer mission from the Council of Europe human rights body.

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

The European Union opposed Erdogan’s bid to shift the country to a system giving the president sweeping new powers. The narrow 51.4 percent margin of victory also revealed doubts among Turkish voters about the constitutional changes.

“There will be no call to Erdogan from the Commission, certainly not a congratulatory call,” the official said. “Turkey is sliding toward a semi-authoritarian system under one man rule.”

EU foreign ministers will meet on April 28 in Malta to discuss the next steps.

The Commission said that any legislation bringing back the death penalty to Turkey, as pledged by Erdogan during his campaign, would certainly end Ankara’s EU membership bid.

“On the death penalty…not only is this a red line, but the reddest of all red lines,” Commission spokesman Schinas said. “We have an unequivocal rejection of the death penalty.”

Source: National News Agency