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EU Calls for Probe Into 'Irregularities' in Turkish Constitution Referendum

CC0 / Pixabay / Turkish and EU flags
Turkish and EU flags - Sputnik International
The EU has called for a probe into the Turkish referendum which saw 51 percent vote in favor of extending the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, saying "fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency."

Turkey held a referendum, April 16, on abolishing the office of prime minister and extending the powers of the presidency, including giving him powers to appoint members of the judiciary, which many critics — at home and abroad — saw as a power grab by Erdogan.

Now, following a preliminary report into the referendum by the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU has called on Turkey to investigate irregularities in voting.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wave Turkey's national flags and Yes campaign flags during a rally for the upcoming referendum in Istanbul, Turkey, April 15, 2017 - Sputnik International
Constitution Reform to Boost Erdogan's Accountability, Not Powers - Ruling Party
"​The referendum took place in a political environment in which fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency, and the two sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to the voters," said Tana de Zulueta, Head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights limited election observation mission. 

"Our monitoring showed the 'Yes' campaign dominated the media coverage and this, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters' access to a plurality of views," said de Zulueta.

The CoE/OSCE report said: "Voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform, and civil society organizations were not able to participate."

​"The 18 proposed amendments affecting 72 articles of the constitution were voted on as a single package, contrary to international good practice for referenda. Voters did not have the opportunity to make a choice about each of the distinct issues featured in the amendments," the report said.

"None of the proposed amendments featured on the ballot; voters were simply asked to vote for a yes or no option. The state did not ensure that voters were provided with impartial or balanced information on the amendments and their potential impact, thus limiting their ability to make an informed choice."

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