Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory Sunday in a referendum vote that gives him vast powers over the country parliament and judiciary system. The state-run news agency showed him winning by a tiny margin, and the opposition immediately contested the results, demanding a recount of one-third of the ballots. With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, "Yes" votes totaled 51 percent and "No" totaled 49. The country’s election commision has yet to announce official results. The vote would change the constitution to allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to gain nearly full control of the government. Among other things, the vote would get rid of the post of prime minister and transfer those power to the president; allow the president to issue decrees and appoint judges that review his decisions; allow the president to run for two five-year terms, with the caveat that parliament can vote to allow a third term. Critics have called it major move toward authoritarianism in a country that under Erdogan had seen opposition voices jailed and much of the country’s free press shuttered.
—More than half of the 126 people killed in a bombing attack in Syria were children.
—Trump suggested the thousands of protesters who gathered across the U.S. to demand he release his taxes were paid.
—A former governor of Mexico who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars was found and captured in Guatemala.
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).
Turkey's President Declares Victory in Vote to Expand His Powers
Fugitive Former Mexican Governor Is Caught in Guatemala
A former Mexican state governor accused of embezzling million of dollars and who has been on the run for five months was captured in Guatemala Saturday night. Javier Duarte, a big name in Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was once the head of Veracruz, one of the country’s largest and wealthiest states. But in October he was expelled from PRI and that same month he resigned amid accusations he’d set up shell companies to siphon millions in public funds. He is also suspected of having ties to criminal organizations. Those accusations and Duarte’s subsequent disappearance hurt the image of Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who has struggled with accusations of turning an eye to corruption. His PRI party ruled Mexico for more than 70 years, and has a long history of corruption ties. Duarte was found near the capital of Guatemala and was transferred Sunday morning to Matamoros prison, from where he is expected to be extradited back to Mexico.
Trump Claims Tax Day Protesters Were Paid
President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet Sunday that the thousands of people who gathered across the country this weekend to demand he release his taxes were paid protesters. The rallies were held days before Tax Day, the day federal taxes are due, and took place in dozens of cities in the U.S. “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” read one of Trump’s tweets. Since his campaign Trump has refused to turn over his tax releases, which is a practice done by every presidential candidate since the 1970s. He at first claimed he couldn’t, because he was under audit, but the Internal Revenue Service later said that would not keep him from releasing returns. The protests were organized by more than 60 nonprofits, and in Los Angeles and New York each drew about 5,000 people.
I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
Half of the Dead in the Syrian Bus Evacuee Attack Were Children
More than 70 children were killed in a bombing attack in Syria that targeted busses of evacuees, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday. The explosion the day before killed 126 people in all, and it targeted people being taken away from the northern towns of Fuaa and Kafraya, both controlled by the government. The evacuations were part of the “four towns” deal between the Syrian government and rebels to remove residents from towns besieged by either side. Both Fuaa and Kafraya are full of mostly Shia Muslims sympathetic to the government, and have been encircled by rebels and al-Qaeda-linked Sunni jihadists for two years. The bomb went off at Rashidin, just west of Aleppo, where evacuees were supposed to be exchanged. The BBC reported that the bomb exploded right as aid workers passed out food, which had attracted a large group of kids. It is believed a car bomb was used to carry out the attack.