The ‘Yes’ camp in a referendum to give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater powers claimed victory on Sunday but the knife-edge result left the country bitterly divided with the opposition crying foul.
Opponents fear the constitutional changes, which would grant Erdogan more power than any leader since modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his successor Ismet Inonu, would lead the country to one-man rule.
The ‘Yes’ campaign won 51.3 percent of the vote against 48.7 percent for ‘No’, the election commission said in figures quoted by state news agency Anadolu, in a count based on 99 percent of the ballot boxes.
In a nail-biting end to a frenetic campaign, the ‘No’ share of the vote climbed as more ballots were counted, after lagging well behind in the early count, but failed to overtake the ‘Yes’.
“The presidential system, according to unofficial results, has been confirmed with a ‘Yes’ vote,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told jubilant supporters from the balcony of the headquarters of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.
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