White House: Trump congratulates Erdogan after disputed win

Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters in Istanbul after declaring victory in a historic referendum that will grant sweeping powers to the presidency

Votes are shown to observers at a voting station in Istanbul on Sunday.

. Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday to cancel the results of.

The win gives Erdogan the power to make significant constitutional changes, granting him sweeping powers in Turkey's transformation from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential republic.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since a failed coup attempt last summer.

"This is why the only decision that will end debate about the legitimacy (of the vote) and ease the people's legal concerns is the annulment of this election", deputy party chairman Bulent Tezcan said.

"With this illegal decision, ballot box councils [officials at polling stations] were misled into believing that the use of unstamped ballots was appropriate", the Union of Turkish Bar Associations said in a statement.

Mr Erdogan has rejected criticism from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which damned the referendum as an "unequal campaign". The main opposition party has demanded the result be nullified, saying the voting was marred by irregularities. "It's wrong to say something after the nation has spoken", he said.

Opposition CHP head Kemal Kilicdaroglu accused the electoral board of bias and of favoring the governing party. Prior to this vote, Turkish authorities had required that the only ballots that could be tallied were those in officially stamped envelopes. Similar queues were also reported in front of an election board office in Istanbul.

Further, Erdogan is discussing policy that would end any future possibility of Turkey entering the European Union (such as reviving the death penalty).

The new system is due to come into effect after elections in November 2019. Other changes are to be implemented sooner, including scrapping a requirement that the president not be a member of any political party.

The official results are expected to be announced between April 27 and April 28.

It was not entirely clear why, despite Spicer's statement, the White House later released word of Trump congratulating Erdoğan.

Sources close to the president said he told President Erdogan: "I value our friendship, we have many important things to do together".

The increasing polarization of Turkish society has long anxious observers, who note the dangers of deepening societal divisions in a country with a history of political instability.

- In a narrowly contested referendum, Turkish voters supported the proposal to greatly increase the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and to abolish the position of a Prime Minister.

Protesters were fewer in number in Ankara, where they were outnumbered by police officers.

In a speech a year ago, Erdogan said there was "no doubt" that when the president works in tandem with the party, it makes "the party and the president strong, and more determined steps get to be made in solidarity".

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz made a telephone call on Monday to Erdogan, congratulating him on the outcome of the constitutional referendum.



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