Turkey’s top court, Euro court lack jurisdiction over referendum results: Minister

Turkey’s top court, Euro court lack jurisdiction over referendum results: Minister

Turkey’s top court, Euro court lack jurisdiction over referendum results: Minister

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The Supreme Board of Election’s (YSK) ruling to dismiss an opposition appeal to annul the referendum is the proper decision, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said, stating that the Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights have no jurisdiction over the decisions of the electoral board.

“The YSK’s decision is the proper decision because the YSK has evaluated similar issues not just this time, but in the past as well, and it has always made the same decision,” Bozdağ said in a televised interview on pro-government channel A Haber on April 20.

His comments came after the YSK, the top office for the final decision on any poll disputes, rejected on April 19 all opposition objections to the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum.

Both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, submitted legal objections to the board, mainly due to its decision to deem ballot papers without official seals as valid.

With the YSK rejecting all appeals from the two parties by a vote of 10-1, Bozdağ also dismissed the possibility of the opposition parties appealing to the Constitutional Court about the referendum.

“The Constitutional Court does not have the authority or the right to evaluate the YSK’s referendum decision in accordance with the Constitution and the international agreement to which Turkey is a party. It is also against our law because our Constitution states that the YSK’s decisions are definitive and no other authority can appealed that decision,” Bozdağ said.

“Even if [the opposition] makes such appeal, the Constitutional Court has no option but to dismiss this appeal,” he added. 

Answering a question about the opposition’s possible application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Bozdağ said the international agreements to which Turkey is a party rules out the possibility of any such appeal.

“They can appeal to the ECHR, but they cannot gain anything from it because the agreement that Turkey is a signatory of does not grant parties the right to apply,” he said.

“The ECHR has ruled in other applications that referenda are out of their jurisdiction. It is clearly stated in their decisions,” he added. 

OSCE report ‘biased’

Bozdağ also criticized the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe’s (OSCE) report on Turkey’s referendum, stating that the report which states that the referendum was not held in a democratic environment was biased.

“They did not prepare an objective report. They are also deceiving the European Union. They are deceiving all international organizations,” he said.

“We think this OSCE report is not fair or objective. Those who prepared that report are not impartial, just or objective and they aimed to depict things which do not exist as if they do,” he said, accusing the members of the observatory mission of being affiliated with outlawed terrorist organizations.

“Please investigate the links of the observers that you assign to Turkey for links with [the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] DHKP-C, [Fetullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ and other terrorist organizations. You object when Turkey reacts. It is one of the reasons for the problems between us,” he said.