Campaigners call on Theresa May to turn her back on Turkey
CAMPAIGNERS demanding Prime Minister Theresa May suspend arms sales to Turkey after the country’s “rigged” constitutional referendum warned yesterday that they “will not be silenced.”
“The will of the people has been trampled on through cheating and lies and a dictatorship is being imposed,” said British-based campaign group Solidarity with the People of Turkey (Spot).
It called on “all the democratic forces of Britain to support the struggle of the people of Turkey against the undemocratic measures.”
Some 50 million Turkish people voted in Sunday’s referendum on massively increasing presidential powers, which many believe to have been manipulated amid reports of ballot boxes being stuffed with Yes votes and No votes turning up in rubbish bins.
In the mainly Kurdish south-east of the country, which was seen as most likely to vote No, some polling stations reported a 100 per cent Yes result.
The Yes campaign claimed victory with just over 51 per cent of the vote, in a narrow victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The official Supreme Election Council allowed 2.5 million ballot papers without legitimate stamps to be accepted as valid, making the decision as vote counting was under way. It has been claimed that the decision was taken when No was leading in the count.
Demonstrations against the result have been held across Turkey, with protesters accusing the Yes campaign of “stealing the election.”
Over 40 people have been arrested for taking part in the demonstrations, while four journalists have been detained for reporting on them.
Independent observers were blocked from entry to many polling stations in the southeast and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Turkey is a member, stated that the conditions for the vote did not appear “fair.”
Spot spokesman Arif Bektas said: “This referendum result is unacceptable. Clearly wide-scale fraud has happened. The British government and other officials should condemn this.
“We think all Britain should scrap all arms deals with Turkey and we will continue to expose the role of the government and their complicity in the attacks on the people of Turkey.”