Turkish government exerts its power on election campaign: OSCE
Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens (L) of the Limited Election Observation Mission (LEOM) of the OSCE shakes hands with CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.The gap between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election campaign for the presidency and his activities as the current prime minister is vague, according to the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the process.
“There is no clear separation between government activities and election campaigning on the side of the government,” said Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens of the Limited Election Observation Mission (LEOM) of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in an interview on Aug. 6.
“There are also some inconsistencies in the legal framework,” Ahrens added.
While answering questions during the opening ceremony of the high-speed rail line between Istanbul and Ankara, the largest two cities in the country, Ahrens said, “this maybe one case where administrative sources are used for election campaigning.”
Recalling that Turks who live abroad represent a large number of people who can vote in the country’s first presidential elections, Ahrens said this was something his group had recommended.
Commenting on the high number of additional ballot papers, Ahrens said the number was “too high.”
“What happens to the votes that were not used will be clear after election day and we will say something if needed,” he added.
18 mln extra ballots
Meanwhile, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, joint candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said on Aug. 5 the OSCE interim report, which stated that some additional 18 million ballot papers were printed for the upcoming elections was a “concern.”
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ strongly ruled out the claims, saying İhsanoğlu was aiming to cast suspicion about the upcoming elections. “I would like to say clearly that elections in Turkey are held under safe and well regulated conditions,” Bozdağ said.
He also criticized the OSCE’s interim report for making the report public before the elections take place.
Sadi Güven, head of the Supreme Election Board (YSK), also said the number of ballot papers was within the legal limits and additional ballots were kept in depots in case of any emergency.
A 28-member delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Meritxell Mateu i Pi, will travel to Turkey from Aug. 8 -11 to monitor the presidential election process alongside observers from the OSCE.