CHP appeals to European court against referendum results

CHP appeals to European court against referendum results

Turkey’s main opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu lodged an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the results of the April 16 referendum.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of Republican People's Party (CHP), signed an appeal to the European court against the Turkey’s election board's decision to confirm unstamped votes in the April 16 referendum.

Kılıçdaroğlu lodged the appeal in the city of İzmit on the 20th day of his massive "justice march" from Ankara to İstanbul. He staged the 425-km (265 miles) march following a 25-year jail sentence for Enis Berberoglu, a deputy for the CHP, in June on charges of revealing state secrets.

"Turkey has rapidly turned into a (one-)party state. Pretty much all state institutions have become branches of a political party," Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on the last leg of his march with thousands of supporters.

"This is causing profound harm to our democratic, parliamentary system," he added.

The march has gained momentum as it passes through north-west Turkey, with representatives from the HDP, parliament's third largest party, joining the march on Monday near the jail of its former co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ.

On Monday, Yüksekdağ, stripped of her parliamentary status in February, issued a statement from her cell, calling on the opposition to put aside their differences and join efforts to help restore justice in the country.

"We must set up the shattered scales of justice again and fight for this together," warning that justice had hit "rock bottom" with the imprisonment of 11 HDP lawmakers and nearly 100 mayors.


Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up his harsh criticism of the protest march, saying the CHP was no longer acting as a political opposition.

"We can see that they have reached the point of acting together with terror groups and those powers which provoke them against our country," he said in a speech to officials from his ruling AKP on Saturday.

"The path which you are taking is the one of the Qandil, the one of Pennsylvania," he said, referring to the PKK positions in northern Iraqi mountains and the US state where Fethullah Gülen resides.

Erdoğan accuses Gülen of plotting the June 2016 attempted coup. Over 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial and 150,000 have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs over their alleged link to Gulen. Turkey has also closed 130 media outlets and imprisoned nearly 160 journalists.

In April, the government held a referendum on constitutional changes that sharply expanded Erdogan's presidential powers and the proposals won 51.4 percent of the vote.

However, opposition parties objected to the poll result, calling it deeply flawed. European election observers also said that the election board's decision to allow unstamped voted to be counted eliminated a key safeguard against voting fraud. (EVRENSEL DAILY)