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Turkey arrests dozens in anti-referendum protests

SECURITY
Turkey arrests dozens in anti-referendum protests

Photo: Yasin Akgul/AFP

Police arrested at least 49 people at rallies held across Turkey against the constitutional changes giving president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers that were narrowly approved in a referendum, daily Hurriyet reported on Tuesday.

Hurriyet said around 14 protesters were detained by the police in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, where a majority of people voted against the constitutional changes in Sunday's referendum.

Election authorities have said preliminary results showed 51.4 percent of voters had backed the biggest overhaul of Turkish politics since the founding of the modern republic, a far slimmer margin than Erdogan had been seeking.

Opposition parties, the Turkish bar association and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring group have said the referendum fell short of international standards.

Turkey's bar association said a last-minute decision by the YSK electoral board to allow unstamped ballots in the referendum was clearly against the law, prevented proper records being kept, and may have impacted the outcome.

On Monday, the OSCE claimed that a “lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms” had created an "unlevel playing field” in the constitutional referendum.

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