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A damning report by OSCE: ‘No’ campaigners intimidated ahead of Turkey’s referendum

WHatti

There are intimidation attempts against campaigners in the “no” camp ahead of Turkey’s upcoming referendum, according to a top official from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

19 Political Party banned

OSCE reported that while 10 political parties are able to campaign, 19 political parties which were able to campaign during last elections in November of 2015, now banned.

Even Public Servants are one-sided

Including President who is supposed to be impartial (according to the constitution), many senior as well as lower level public officials supporting “yes” campaign.

Even Antalya’s Chief Prosecutor..

Within the framework of campaign, including president, prime minister and chief prosecutor of Antalya (south city of Turkey), many senior level politicians and public servants equalizing those “no” voters with terrorist organizations and coup plotters.

Watchdogs are neutralized

Following the coup attempt, 1583 NGOs which watched the previous elections have been banned.  Many others are limited due to security reasons.

Michael Georg Link, the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said the OSCE will release its interim report on the referendum process this weekend, but the “main problem is the campaigning process,” Deutsche Welle reported on April 5.

Media Restricted

Noting that the referendum is “handled one-sidedly in the media,” Link also said there are “restrictions in the issues, such as news and organizing demonstrations,” due to the ongoing state of emergency, which was declared after the July 15, 2016 military coup attempt.

“I was welcomed well in Turkey. The cooperation was professional,” he said, referring to his recent fact-finding visit to the country.

“As the OSCE, we are only able to observe the referendum process inside Turkey. We don’t have a team to observe voting among expats in Germany, Austria or Sweden. This is an issue that we need to handle in the future as the OSCE,” Link added.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to change the current parliamentary system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president.

In the first eight days of voting, which started on March 27, some 576,216 Turkish expatriates have cast their votes.

You can find full OSCE report in Turkish or English here.

 

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