Today Turkey made an historic decision about the governance system," he remarked, calling for countries that Turkey accepts as allies to "respect the decision of our nation."
The constitutional package voted on the day has 18 articles, the most controversial one being the switch to an executive presidency from the parliamentary system put in place ever since the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923.
The package shall grant the office of the presidency sweeping powers with less checks and balances, a scenario that has been rejected by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party.
CHP is calling for a recount after the initial result was unveiled, citing reported irregularities. Naysayers were protesting against the result in different districts of Istanbul on Sunday night, with some banging pots and pans from their windows and others holding a march.
Turkey will not turn to the presidential system until 2019, when Erdogan's current term ends and fresh parliamentary elections will be held concurrently. In his later address to supporters, Erdogan said his first job after the victory is to discuss the reintroduction of death penalty and that another referendum on this issue is possible.
The issue of capital punishment was raised in the wake of a failed military coup in July last year, which the Turkish government says was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric now living in the United States.
The European Union has responded by threatening to terminate the accession talks with Turkey in a row that has contributed to chilled bilateral ties.
BEIJING, April 17 -- China's economy posted a forecast-beating growth rate in the first quarter of 2017, with GDP up 6.9 percent from a year ago, official data showed Monday.
The reading, the quickest increase in 18 months, was above the full-year target of 6.5 percent and the 6.8-percent increase registered in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). GDP reached 18.07 trillion yuan (2.63 trillion U.S. dollars) in the January-March period.NBS spokesperson Mao Shengyong said the economy had achieved a rosy start this year, during Monday's conference.
"Generally speaking, the national economy has continued with stable and sound momentum in the first quarter as growth rebounded moderately and economic adjustment was steadily promoted," Mao said.
He mainly attributed the strong performance to robust factory activity, strong consumption and rebounding exports. GDP was up 1.3 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis. Beside the headline figures, other major indicators also showed a resilient economy.
The value-added industrial output expanded 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, compared with the 5.8-percent increase in the same period a year ago, and the fixed-asset investment grew 9.2 percent, quickening from the 8.1 percent registered in the whole 2016.
China's disposable income per capita stood at 7,184 yuan in the first three months, with nominal year-on-year growth of 8.5 percent. The increase was 7 percent if taking account of inflation. The job market remained stable, with 3.34 million new jobs created and the surveyed unemployment rate staying under 5 percent.
"China's economic structure is improving and new momentum is gathering," Mao said.
The service sector rose 7.7 percent year on year in the first quarter, outpacing a 3-percent increase in agriculture and 6.4 percent in the secondary industry. It accounted for 56.5 percent of the overall economy. Consumption, another significant driver of economic growth, contributed to 77.2 percent of the GDP increase in the first quarter. Mao said the Q1 data showed that China had laid a solid foundation to realize its full-year economic target, but still warned of risks from an complicated external environment and domestic structural problems.
The government trimmed this year's growth goal to around 6.5 percent last month from a range of 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016, a move expected to provide more wiggle room for reforms. The world's second largest economy rose 6.7 percent year on year in 2016, the weakest annual expansion in 26 years but still an enviable pace around the globe.Mao expressed his confidence on China's economic outlook, citing increasing stability and untapped growth potential.
"There will be steady reform dividend and the economy has enormous potential in the medium to long term," he said.
Despite the encouraging data, Chinese shares were surprisingly bearish as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index opened lower Monday and slipped 1.32 percent to 3,203.21 points during the morning session. The central parity rate of the Chinese yuan weakened 45 basis points to 6.8785 against the U.S. dollar.
HONG KONG, April 17 -- Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday as investors sought refuge in safe-haven assets in the wake of mounting geopolitical tension.
Already bruised by worries over North Korea and upcoming French elections, global investor sentiment was further hurt by weak US economic data. Though a host of Chinese economic data beat market expectations, they failed to trigger market reactions as investors had already been optimistic following a recent string of positive numbers out of the country. Similarly, Singapore's strong export numbers for March did little to lift dour investor mood following the central bank's cautionary tone last week.
"Local news such as the Singapore non-oil domestic exports and MAS monetary policy, though positive, may have already been partly factored into stock prices given the year-to-date performance of the Singapore stock market," said Liu Jinshu, director of research, NRA Capital.
Singapore shares fell 0.9% and were the worst performers in the region. The Singapore market was closed on Friday for a holiday.
"The lower open today created a snowball effect that perpetuated more selling as traders cut their losses from leveraged positions, according to some brokers," he said.
Losses were broad-based with industrials, financials and telcos being the worst-performing sectors.
Telecommunications firm StarHub Ltd and real estate operator City Developments Ltd fell about 2% each and were the biggest losers on the index. Philippine shares, which gained 0.6 percent last week in their third straight weekly gain on the back of strong net foreign inflows, fell 0.5%.
Analysts say they believe the spate of gains resulted in profit booking. Megaworld Corp, which was one of the biggest gainers last week, was the worst performer on the index. Telco PLDT Inc, a heavyweight in the telecommunications sector and on the index, was 2% lower.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index fell 0.6%, dragged down by energy and consumer stocks, while Malaysia and Vietnam eked out small gains.
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