OSCE asks for vote recount in Turkey’s controversial referendum

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Michael Georg Link

Michael Georg Link, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), has called for a recount of the votes in a referendum held in Turkey on Sunday, saying that such a move would strengthen the weakening confidence in the election process in the country.

A constitutional reform package that will introduce an executive presidency in Turkey received 51.4 percent of the vote in favor in the referendum. However, the OSCE said on Monday that Turkey’s referendum lacked equal opportunities, media coverage for the contesting sides and international standards for a fair election.

In remarks that appeared in local German newspaper Heilbronner Stimme, Link said he was saddened by the remarks of Turkish government officials who said they would not recognize a report issued by the OSCE regarding Sunday’s referendum.

In a statement on Monday, the joint mission of the OSCE’s ODIHR and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said the April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey was contested on an unlevel playing field and that the two sides in the campaign did not have equal opportunities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the OSCE’s report in a statement on Monday and said he would not recognize it. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also slammed the OSCE in a statement on Monday, saying the OSCE’s reflections on the referendum results employ a biased and prejudiced approach and are also denunciatory.

Link warned that if President Erdoğan does not cooperate with OSCE, the political situation in Turkey will deteriorate and that this situation will be criticized by other states and organizations.

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