Protests have erupted across Turkey over the past three days against allegations of cheating in votes in a referendum that delivered the ruling party a victory and ushers in the controversial presidential system.
Protests were reported in at least 20 Turkish cities, including the largest three, namely Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, in which thousands have been demanding the annulment of the referendum.
According to the allegations, over 1.5 million invalid votes were counted as “yes.”
The 18-article constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party and backed by its supporters were accepted with a slim majority of 51.4 percent in the referendum, according to the unofficial result announced by the election watchdog.
The Supreme Election Board on Wednesday rejected petitions submitted by three political parties, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party, to cancel Sunday’s referendum result on the grounds that malpractices existed including allowing unsealed ballot papers to be accepted as valid in the counting, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Besiktas district in central Istanbul, where over 80 percent of residents voted no, has been one of the top destinations for naysayers since the result was unveiled Sunday night.
Each day at 19:30, thousands of people have been marching on the streets in the district, calling on residents to raise their voices against unfair counting.
Residents responded by banging pots and pans and shouting slogans.
“Besiktas does not sleep! Raise your voice,” the protesters shouted on Wednesday evening.
“All we want is justice,” a young protester said, as others chanted, “It is not over! This is just the beginning!”
Police detained at least 38 people in Istanbul on Wednesday, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Naysayers have been using social media to make themselves heard as well. Enditem