Turkey referendum: the count begins (updated)

The polls have closed in Turkey’s referendum to grant sweeping new powers to the president. More than three quarters of the ballots have been counted and partial results put the Yes camp in front.

However, early results from Kurdish areas point to a No vote.

The vote against the changes is gaining. State-run Anadolu agency now puts the Yes vote at 52% (No on 47%) with 90 per cent of ballots opened down from earlier when it was reporting 54%. The biggest change comes from the biggest city, Istanbul, with 88 percent of ballot boxes opened, the No vote was at 50.04% and the Yes at 49.96%.

Europe Elects puts the projected results too close to call.

Turkey: After 80% of the votes counted:

Result projection:

Yes: 49.6-51.8%

No: 50.4-48.2%#Turkeyreferendum pic.twitter.com/xWdYpFN5gb— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) April 16, 2017

Ahead of the ballot, opinion polls showed a narrow win for the Yes, to replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency.

Some 55 million people were eligible to vote and some observers are reporting up to 80% turnout.

The opposition has questioned the legitimacy of the vote after a last-minute decision by the electoral board to accept unstamped ballots as valid votes. “The High Electoral Board has failed by allowing fraud in the referendum,” CHP deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Ankara.

Turkish opposition questions legitimacy of vote after last-minute electoral board move: https://t.co/tnRoXcUGDZ pic.twitter.com/1cSGcnGdgK— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) April 16, 2017

The outcome of the vote could have important consequences for EU-Turkey ties. On the eve of the referendum President Tayyip Erdogan reiterated a pledge to review relations with the bloc and a migrant deal should the vote go in his favour.