Turkey referendum chiefs defend decision to count unstamped ballots
Election chiefs in Turkey have defended their decision to validate some disputed ballots cast during the country's referendum on boosting presidential powers.
The opposition had contested the April 16 referendum which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Yes camp a narrow victory, saying the decision to count ballots which did not have the official stamps on them was illegal and allowed fraud.
The High Electoral Board rejected the opposition appeal last week, and in its formal justification released on Thursday it said the decision was taken to ensure voters' ballots were not invalidated due to polling clerks' mistakes.
It said there was no evidence of fraud and rejected claims that the decision was illegal.
Turkey's main opposition party will now take its appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The electoral authority also released the official tally of votes in the referendum, saying the Yes side received 51.41% of the vote while the No camp garnered 48.59%.
A spokesman said: "Our board declares that the constitutional amendments have been accepted."