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Pace observer: Referendum was neither fair nor free

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Stefan Schennach, an Austrian member of a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) team sent to Turkey to observe a referendum on Sunday, has said the referendum on a constitutional amendment package to bring an executive presidency to the country was neither free nor fair.

“[A]fter our mission in Diyarbakir + Mardin we got deeply worried, referendum was neither fair nor free: police blocked 2x observation,” Schennach said in a Twitter message posted following the referendum.

PACE announced last Monday that it would send a 20-member delegation to Turkey to observe the conduct of the referendum on constitutional amendments, alongside observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

In January, the PACE Monitoring Committee expressed concern in a statement about the content of the proposed constitutional reforms and the conditions under which a referendum would be held in Turkey.

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