Erdoğan declares victory in referendum to increase his powers
© Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday declared victory in a referendum on constitutional reforms to expand his powers, according to multiple reports.

But opposition parties are contesting the results of the referendum.

Erdogan said the unofficial results of the referendum show it winning by a margin of 1.3 million votes, according to the Associated Press. The Turkish president on Sunday thanked voters and called the passage of the referendum a "historic decision."

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, 51.3 percent voted in favor of the referendum while 48.7 voted against it, with 98 percent of ballots counted, Bloomberg News reported.


The referendum gives Erdogan the power to appoint ministers and top judges and call elections whenever he would like, according to Bloomberg.

It would also take away the position of prime minister.

Erdoğan reportedly called party leaders to congratulate them on the outcome of the vote, according to The Washington Post.

Supporters of Erdogan celebrated outside the governing AK Party headquarters in Istanbul and Ankara, according to the AP.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday declared victory.

"We are brothers. We are one body, one nation," Yildirim said at the ruling party's headquarters in Ankara, according to the AP.

"A new page has opened in our democratic history with this vote. Be sure that we will use this result for our people's welfare and peace in the best way."

But Erdal Aksunger, the deputy head of the CHP, the largest opposition bloc, alleged that 2.5 million of the votes were "problematic." 

He said the Anadolu agency was "manipulating" the results of the election.

There was also controversy over an announcement by the High Electoral Board, which originally said it wouldn't accept ballots without ballot commission stamps, but then changed its stance after voting was already happening, according to CNN.

"The High Electoral Board has changed the rules after the voting started," said Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party.
"There is a clear clause in electoral law saying unstamped ballots will be invalid and the High Electoral Board issued its notice in compliance with this law."