OSCE jumps at lie of unsealed ballots

Published 20.04.2017 01:05

The Turkish people were at the polls last Sunday to vote for the constitutional amendment referendum. A total of 51.4 percent of the people voted "yes" for the substantial changes on the Constitution that was made after the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, while 48.6 percent of voters voted against it.

Before the referendum, however, some EU countries had overtly taken up a position on the vote that was an internal affair of a prospective member, and continued their arrogant attitude after the ballot boxes were opened.

I am not only talking about fascists like Geert Wilders, who has advocated the deportation of Turkish nationals with dual citizenship in the Netherlands who voted in favor of the changes.

What really surprised us, as the citizens of a prospective EU member country, were those who sacrificed an important EU institution like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to their prejudices and dark relations.

There is no rationale behind the statements of some OSCE members who lost their neutrality by supporting the "no" campaigns during the referendum process. Their statements have overshadowed referendum results and are not based on any concrete claims.

For instance, let us look at the OSCE's much-spoken objection to "unsealed voting envelopes" in the referendum, which witnessed a voter turnout of around 86 percent.

OSCE rapporteurs refer to the absences of the seal of the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) in some ballot papers and voting envelopes as a "stain." However, this situation is encountered in every election.

That is to say, there are members from each party who are in charge of supervising ballot boxes during the election. Before the election, these supervisors press the YSK's seal on each ballot paper and voting envelope that will be cast in the ballot boxes that they monitor.

Yet, out of the hundreds, there are certainly ballot papers and voting envelopes that are missed in this manual sealing process.

Nonetheless, these unsealed envelopes are also rendered valid during the vote counting process, because the number of votes that will go into or out of each ballot box is already known.

If the votes cast by the electorate are deemed invalid because of the mistake made by polling supervisors because of human error, the resulting victimization will be greater.

So, what fault does the electorate have? As practiced many times in the past, the YSK decided to deem the unsealed ballots, which were cast by the electorate under the supervision of polling staff, valid.

Let us remember that this decision was approved by the signatures of the representatives of each party who supervised ballot boxes. Also, just a few objections to this issue were conveyed to the YSK among tens of thousands of ballot box commissions who served during the April 16 referendum.

Another detail that refuted the OSCE's claim even before it was put forward is that the ballot papers and voting envelopes already bear the YSK's watermark, even if they are not sealed. In other words, the votes that are deemed to be valid are on valuable paper that the state sends equally to the polls in accordance with the number of voters.

That being the case, is it possible that an institution such as the OSCE could be unaware of this fact which could be obtained by simply speaking to an ordinary ballot box or YSK officer?

Despite this, how can the OSCE declare this detail as a situation that will affect the referendum results while there is a 3 percent difference corresponding to 1.3 million votes? Is the OSCE an inquisition which thinks itself as the judiciary of the union's legal system? More importantly, is the EU a union of banana republics?

To tell you the truth, what the OSCE has done is sheer manipulation and not only will the OSCE rapporteurs who lost their impartiality give an account for this, but also the whole union.

The EU must accept its mistake in order to get rid of this black mark next to its name and apologize to the electorate; it must also congratulate Turkey within the framework of diplomatic practices.

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