Turkey rejects Council of Europe concerns on local elections
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Ankara on April 1 rejected concerns of the Council of Europe's election observation mission regarding the local elections in Turkey.
"[...] the doubt that it [mission] voiced over free and fair electoral environment [in Turkey] is baseless," Hami Aksoy, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
Aksoy's remarks came after Andrew Dawson, head of the observation mission, said: “We from the Congress of the Council of Europe are not fully convinced that Turkey currently has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles.”
Noting high turnout rate of 84 percent in the country, Aksoy said Turkish authorities provided every kind of cooperation and convenience to the observation mission across the country.
Turkey will “continue its constructive approach to electoral observation activities within the framework of confidence that it has in the maturity of its democracy and importance it attaches to cooperation with international human rights mechanisms,” Aksoy said.
In his statement, Dawson also praised the elections were conducted in an "orderly way", highlighting the "high turnout rate of 84%, the broad choice of political parties, as well as the technical proficiency of the election at all levels from the Supreme Election Council down to the individual Ballot Box Committees."
22 observers from 20 countries operated in the cities of the country including Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir to observe the election procedures in polling stations.