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Published On: Wed, Apr 5th, 2017

OSCE Blasts Turkey over Intimidation of “No” Campaigners Ahead of Referendum

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nsnbc : The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) criticized Turkey stressing that there are attempts to intimidate “no” campaigners ahead of Turkey’s upcoming referendum.

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Michael Georg Link, the director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said the OSCE will release its interim report on the referendum process this weekend. He added that there are major issues with the campaigning process, reported Deutsche Welle on April 5.

Link noted that media coverage about the referendum in one-sided and that there are “restrictions in the issues, such as news and organizing demonstrations,” due to the ongoing state of emergency, which was declared after the July 15, 2016 military coup attempt. The opposition HDP complained recently that it has literally been omitted from media coverage in Turkey. Many members of the opposition HDP, including lawmakers and mayors have been jailed.

“I was welcomed well in Turkey. The cooperation was professional,” he said, referring to his recent fact-finding visit to the country. However, “As the OSCE, we are only able to observe the referendum process inside Turkey. We don’t have a team to observe voting among expats in Germany, Austria or Sweden. This is an issue that we need to handle in the future as the OSCE,” he added.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Tekin Bingöl has stated that there have been a total of 57 “violation attempts” in the first seven days of voting abroad.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to change the current parliamentary system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president. The new system would also have a severe impact on the country’s judiciary and the independence of the judiciary.

In the first eight days of voting, which started on March 27, some 576,216 Turkish expatriates have cast their votes. Elsewhere, voters based in The Netherlands started casting early ballots on April 5. Polling stations to accommodate some 250,000 eligible Dutch-Turkish voters – most with dual citizenship – opened early in the morning at three venues across the country, officials and news reports said.

There have been reports about intimidation of “no” campaigners and potential “no” voters abroad – and “usual Turkish networks” including networks linked to Turkey’s MHP and the notorious “Gray Wolves” have been snooping around journalists and media abroad – including nsnbc in Denmark – letting there be no doubt that “one is being monitored”.

CH/L – nsnbc 05.04.2017

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