European Parliament not to send observers to April 16 referendum in Turkey

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The European Parliament said on Thursday that it will not send a delegation to observe an April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey.

A press release on Thursday signed by David McAllister (EPP, DE) and Linda McAvan (S&D, UK), co-chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy support and election coordination group, said the EP would “consequently not pronounce itself on the process nor on the results that will be announced.”

On 16 April 2017, Turkish citizens will vote in a referendum on amendments to the Constitution of their country, proposing among others the introduction of an executive presidency, the abolition of the office of the Prime Minister, or the raising of the number of seats in the Grand National Assembly.

The European Parliament will not send a delegation to observe this referendum and will consequently not pronounce itself on the process nor on the results that will be announced. Therefore, any statement from a member of the European Parliament on this referendum would not represent in any way the view of the European Parliament.

The European Parliament expresses full confidence and trust in the work and findings of the Limited Referendum Observation Mission to be deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR,” the statement said.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on a constitutional reform package that will bring an executive presidency to Turkey, with the new system concentrating power in the hands of the president.

Many people believe the constitutional amendments to be voted in the referendum will pave the way for a one-man regime under Erdoğan, who has already been criticized for being authoritarian as he has purged and jailed countless thousands of critical academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists.

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