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Turkey's top security body backs extending emergency: TV

Supporters of the "No" gesture and shout in Istanbul to protest alleged poll violations
OZAN KOSE (AFP)
Meanwhile thousands of 'No' supporters protest Turkey vote in Istanbul

Turkey's top security body on Monday backed the extension for another three months of the state of emergency imposed after last July's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, broadcaster NTV reported.

The decision, taken at a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) chaired by Erdogan, to recommend its extension comes two days before the emergency was due to end and a day after Turkish voters approved constitutional changes boosting Erdogan's powers.

"To ensure the continuity of measures for the protection of democracy, rule of law principles as well as rights and freedoms, a decision was made to recommend extending the state of emergency," the MGK said in a statement, quoted by NTV.

The state of emergency has been renewed twice before, in October and January, after it was first declared on July 20, five days after the attempted putsch.

The decision now needs to be rubber-stamped by the Turkish cabinet to come into force. The cabinet is due to meet after the MGK meeting.

During the state of emergency, over 47,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of links to the coup while tens of thousands more people working in the public sector have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs.

Many are academics, police officers, journalists, teachers as well as judges and prosecutors. The crackdown has been heavily criticised by Turkey's Western allies.

In Sunday's referendum, over 51 percent voted in support of changes that will axe the role of premier and allow the president to appoint ministers.

Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of the 'No' campaign took to the streets of Istanbul late Monday to protest alleged poll violations.

'No' supporters protest in Istanbul

At least 1,000 protesters thronged Besiktas on the European side of the city while on the Asian side around 2,000 demonstrators marched through Kadikoy, another staunchly secular and anti-Erdogan neighborhood, AFP correspondents said.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said they would challenge the results from most ballot boxes due to alleged violations.

There has been anger among 'No' supporters over last minute changes to the voting procedures but the authorities insist the referendum was conducted cleanly.

"We will not make you president" and "We are shoulder to shoulder against fascism," the protesters in Kadikoy chanted, as they marched towards the offices of the Supreme Election Board.

Others brandished viral hashtag slogans from the referendum night like "The 'No' is not finished" and "'No' has won".

In Besiktas, protesters held pamphlets with the words "We are right, we will win".

In homes lining the route of the protest, people bashed pots and pans with kitchen utensils from the windows of their apartments to show solidarity.

Police generally kept a low profile on the sidelines of the protest but warned against using offensive slogans.

Smaller protests were also held in other Turkish cities and Turkish media reports said that 13 people were detained in a protest in the southern Mediterranean city of Antalya.

The 'Yes' camp won 51.41 percent in Sunday's referendum, in a narrower than expected victory, according to complete results released by election authorities.

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