Foreign Ministry slams UN statement questioning Turkey’s motives in snap polls
The Foreign Ministry has slammed the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for questioning the Turkish government’s motives in calling snap elections on June 24, rescheduled to be held under the state of emergency a year-and-a-half before the original date.
“The state of emergency does not constitute an obstacle to holding democratic elections,” a statement released by the ministry read on May 10.
Describing the OHCHR’s remarks as “unfortunate,” the ministry said it would not “take [the] statement seriously” as it was made “on the basis of purely political motives.”
“In fact, the High Commissioner should know that the elections were also held in France during a state of emergency. Furthermore, it was confirmed by the international observation missions that the elections in Turkey, including the referendum that took place in April 2017, were held in a democratic, free, fair and transparent manner,” it added.
The state of emergency, which has been in place since the deadly coup attempt of July, 2016, is a necessity and is “a legal right granted to states by the international law,” the ministry stated.
“In Turkey, state of emergency measures are implemented only against terrorists and terror related circles. There are no measures restricting the rights and freedoms of our citizens,” the statement added.
On May 9, the OHCHR had released a written statement titled “Turkey must lift state of emergency restrictions for credible elections to take place.”
”On 19 April, a day after the Government of Turkey called for early parliamentary and presidential elections, it announced that it would renew the state of emergency for the seventh time, suspending its obligations under several articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including articles 19, 21, 22 and 25. These articles relate directly to the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs,” the statement said.
“It is difficult to imagine how credible elections can be held in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalized so severely,” the statement added, quoting U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
”Elections held in an environment where democratic freedoms and the rule of law are compromised would raise questions about their legitimacy, and result in more uncertainty and instability,” al-Hussein said.
”It is in the interests of the people of Turkey that the country’s constitutional order is fully restored, and that human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully respected, in law and practice,” the statement added.