ISTANBUL (NEWS 1130) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan briefly struck a conciliatory tone in a speech after a close victory in Turkey’s referendum to expand his authority, saying there were no losers or winners in the race.
Erdogan initially said after unofficial results showed the referendum narrowly passing that “no matter the color of their ballot, I thank every single individual of our nation who went to the ballot boxes and claiming their will.”
But the appeasement was short-lived.
Addressing crowds outside his Istanbul residence minutes later, Erdogan slammed critics whom he said “belittled” the result, telling them their efforts would be “in vain.”
Erdogan also told supporters chanting for the death penalty to be reinstated that he would discuss the issue with other political leaders and may even seek a new referendum.
Earlier, Erdogan said unofficial results show a referendum that will significantly expand the presidency’s powers winning with a margin of 1.3 million votes.
He thanked all voters regardless of how they cast their ballots and described the referendum as a “historic decision.”
According to results carried Sunday by the state-run Anadolu news agency, the “yes” vote had about 51.3 percent compared to 48.7 percent for the “no” vote with nearly 99 percent of the vote counted.