losangelesnewstoday.com May 21, 2018

Turkish opposition challenges presidential powers vote

23 April 2017, 02:17 | Amanda Barker

Turkish election board rejects calls to annul referendum result

Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday to cancel the results of a landmark referendum that granted sweeping new

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to meet his USA counterpart Donald Trump next month, hoping for stronger ties with the United States after being "deceived" by ex-President Barack Obama.

Erdogan said Thursday in an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber that the two leaders would meet May 16-17 for the first time since Trump was elected in November.

Ties between the United States and Turkey have deteriorated sharply since a failed military coup in July and disagreements over USA support for a Kurdish militia group fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Turkey's election oversight board announced that Erdogan's attempt to convert the Turkish government from a parliamentary to a presidential system, granting him expanded powers and eliminating the office of the prime minister, was successful this week.

Erdogan will also have his first in-person meeting with American President Donald Trump and stop in Brussels to meet various European leaders during a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

Turkey wants a strong relationship with the Trump administration.

In the last few months of Barack Obama's presidency, relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies hit a rough patch with Turkey furious over United States backing for a Kurdish militia in Syria it sees as a terror group.

Egyptian-American Aid Worker, Released From Cairo Jail, Returns To US
US officials had raised Hijazi's case with the Egyptians soon after Trump took office on January 20, the official said. Hijazi was held in an Egyptian prison for three years before the Trump admin could win her release.

Ankara is also pressing Washington hard to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Islamic preacher it accuses of being behind past year s failed coup. "I don't believe the Trump administration will do the same".

He also said that Trump's background as a successful businessman was a help.

Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoglu, the main opposition Republican People's Party's representative at the board, said they would take the decision to the constitutional court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

Erdogan has dismissed them as sore losers, saying the YSK was the final arbiter of electoral issues and neither Turkey's Constitutional Court nor the ECHR had any jurisdiction.

The CHP also demanded that the announcement of the official results be postponed until the case is resolved. Bozdag said these judicial organs would reject such applications based on Turkish laws. The Supreme Election Board made its decisions.

The pro-Kurdish opposition HDP, which had appealed along with the CHP for the referendum to be annulled, said the late decision by the electoral board to allow un-stamped ballots meant it was impossible to determine how many invalid or fake votes may have been counted.

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