Turkey’s foreign ministry has slammed the “lack of transparency” statements made by an international observer mission monitoring Sunday’s elections in the country.
The statements were issued at a news conference in the capital Ankara on Monday by a joint observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“I regret to note that the election administration’s work was lacking in transparency, as well as the overwhelming bias of the public media and the limitations to freedom of speech,” Ambassador Jan Petersen, head of the ODIHR election observation mission, said.
“The process for handling complaints at all levels of the election administration lacked transparency and the Supreme Electoral Council decisions that were published generally were not sufficiently reasoned,” the report said.
On Wednesday, the Turkish foreign ministry called the remarks “politically charged and accusatory”.
“Statements in the report go beyond the election process and are incompatible with the principles of independent and impartial observation,” the ministry said.
“It should not be forgotten that political analysis and biased comments will damage the credibility of OSCE election observation missions.”
In addition to the lack of transparency comment, the observers said biased state-media coverage of the polls was a concern.
The OSCE delegation said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party and its allies enjoyed an advantage over the opposition parties who had faced unequal conditions for campaigning.
Petersen said the general elections were “mostly peaceful” despite a number of incidents and the country’s High Election Board (YSK) had worked efficiently.
The delegation also praised the high turnout, stating that it was a clear indicator of a “strong democratic spirit”.
The YSK confirmed a May 28 run-off between Erdogan and rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after neither candidate secured the 50-percent threshold needed to win in the presidential contest.
Erdogan bagged 49.5 percent of the votes ahead of Kilicdaroglu’s 44.96 percent.
In the parliamentary vote, the Cumhur İttifakı (People’s Alliance), including Erdogan’s Adalet ve Kalkınma Party (Justice and Development Party), achieved a parliamentary majority, according to unofficial results.