International election observers deliver scathing verdict on fairness of  Turkish referendum

17 Apr

Opposition parties said that 1.5 million unstamped ballots had been illegally counted – enough to swing an election that had been decided by about 1.38 million votes, according to state news agency figures

Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the CHP, said there is “only one way to end the discussions about the vote’s legitimacy and to put the people at ease, and that is for the High Electoral Board to cancel the vote.”

The OSCE also said the No campaign had faced been starved of coverage by the state-run media and faced violence from police and Yes supporters. 

The observers also criticised Mr Erdoğan’s own fiery language during the campaign, saying: “The campaign rhetoric was tarnished by a number of senior officials equating No supporters with terrorist sympathisers.”

Turkey’s foreign ministry immediately hit back, calling the OSCE criticism “unacceptable” and saying the observer mission arrived in Turkey “with prejudices and ignored the principles of objectivity and neutrality.” 

Mr Erdoğan has already claimed victory in the referendum after the state news agency said his Yes camp won 51 per cent of the vote and the electoral board officially certified him as the winner. 

Sadi Guven, the board’s chair, defended the decision on Monday and said the board would not back down. “The ballot papers are not fake, there is no reason for doubt,” he said. Mr Guven added that similar decisions had been made in the past and that the board reached its decision before vote counting started. 

The opposition is expected to file objections to the results at local electoral boards and then attempt to bring their case before the High Electoral Board. 

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