The European Union has urged Turkey to maintain a fair and inclusive election environment after a TV presenter was recently fired from his job because he revealed his intention to vote ‘no’ in a public referendum to be held in April.
A reform package will be put to a referendum on April 16. Among other things, the reform package introduces an executive presidency in Turkey, with many fearing that it will create a one-man rule and end the separation of powers in the country.
“We expect Turkey as a candidate country and member of the Council of Europe and of OSCE to show the strongest commitment to fair, transparent and inclusive electoral processes ensuring broad guarantees for fundamental rights and freedoms,” an EU spokesperson told Turkish Minute.
The EU’s reaction came in the wake of the dismissal of Kanal D TV presenter İrfan Değirmenci from his post last week because he announced on social media that he would vote “no” in the referendum.
Değirmenci declared in 20 messages he posted on Feb. 10 that he would vote “no” in the referendum: “’No’ to the one who sees scientists, artists, writers, cartoonists, students, workers, farmers, miners, journalists and all who do not obey as the enemy.”
“With his messages posted on social media on Feb. 10, our colleague İran Değirmenci clearly took a side in a topic that is being debated among the public. Therefore, we are canceling his contract,” said the Doğan Media Group in a statement last Saturday.
Kanal D is a part of the Doğan Media Group, one of the largest media groups in the country.