Speed Reads

happening in turkey

Turkey's Erdogan declares victory in referendum

The official results are not yet in, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in Sunday's referendum that would replace the country's current system of parliamentary democracy with an executive presidency.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said 47.5 million votes were cast, and with 99.8 percent of the ballots counted, the "yes" side received 51.4 percent of the vote. The ruling Justice and Development Party put forward the 18-article reform package, which allows the president to hold much broader powers and lets him appoint five of 13 Supreme Court members. "For a strong Islamic state, for a strong Middle East, Turkey had to switch to this executive presidency system," said Aysel Can, a member of the Justice and Development Party's women's branch. "This is a message to the world to shut up; Turkey is getting stronger. America has to know this, too. We are the voice, we are the ears, we are everything for the Middle East."

The opposition has said it will contest around 37 percent of the votes cast, due to the High Electoral Board announcing while voting was underway that it would change the rules to accept unstamped ballots unless they were proven to be fraudulent.