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Erdogan denounces referendum watchdog as National Security Council extends state of emergency

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By Luke Barber
Erdogan denounces referendum watchdog as National Security Council extends state of emergency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has addressed crowds at Ankara’s presidential palace to celebrate his victory in Sunday’s constitutional referendum.

However, his speech to crowds of flag-waving supporters was not all joy and rapture.

The landmark victory in Sunday’s constitutional referendum – which will usher in the the largest political overhaul in the country’s history – was marred, not only by Turkey’s National Security Council decision to propose a three-month extension to the country’s state of emergency, but also by criticism from international election observers.

Responding to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) damning verdict on the way the vote was conducted, Erdogan denounced the election watchdog, promising to ignore any report it produces.

European monitors said that Sunday’s vote did not live up to international standards.

Erdogan accused them of “shamelessly casting a shadow on the referendum” and told the organisation to “know its place”.

He announced that Turkey will not “see, hear or acknowledge” any report election observers.

“We will continue our path. Talk to the hand. This country has realised the most democratic elections, not seen in any country in the West,” he told crowds at Ankara’s Presidential Palace.

The result of the referendum granted Erdogan sweeping new powers as president, and the opportunity to run for a further two terms after the presidential elections in 2019.

The leader said Sunday’s vote had ended all debate on changing the Turkish constitution, but the result was met with protests by many anti-Erdogan activists.

A state of emergency was declared after a failed military coup last year, and on Monday was extended for a third time.

The decision came after the National Security Council advised cabinet ministers to prolong it by three months starting from Wednesday, according to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.