OSCE praises election process, says it was well-organized

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 08.06.2015 23:45

Following the recent general elections, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) shared their preliminary findings and conclusions with the media members on Monday in Ankara. In the statements, the OSCE chairwoman-in-office as special coordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, said that the elections were well organized and held professionally. Commenting on the people who were badly injured in the explosions that took place at a pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Aleknaite-Abramikiene said it was very impressive to see people actively going to the polls.

The International Election Observation Mission with representatives from 30 different countries arrived in Turkey to observe the general elections, which they described as well organized. The officials from the mission also emphasized the significance of Turkey's role in the region: "Turkey is a great country not only politically, but also geographically." The OSCE representatives said that a stable Turkey displays a balancing and stabilizing role in a highly conflicted area. Explaining that the attacks on political parties' headquarters throughout Turkey overshadowed the elections, Aleknaite-Abramikiene said: "The participation of women throughout the elections must be applauded, as the number of female deputies has now significantly increased."

The head of the OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission (LEOM), ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, OSCA PA delegation head, Ignacio Sanchez Amor and PACE delegation head, Tiny Kox, were among the participants at Monday's press conference. Amor said that the election process in Turkey has a pluralistic system in general, and added: "We were impressed by the political parties having a high number of their observers in the field as well." Ahrens said that the ability of citizens abroad to vote was positive and that campaigning in a language different from Turkish was also significant. He also added: "The final report is being prepared and will be ready in two months, and Brussels will review it carefully."

Kox also reiterated other participants' comments and added that the "contestants were generally able to campaign freely and did so extensively." He further said the significance of international observers being accredited for the elections.

Turkey has been an electoral democracy since 1950, and the fairness and freedom of Turkish elections have been praised by international observers. Most recently, in August 2014, the OSCE observed the presidential election in Turkey, in which people directly voted for the president for the first time, and praised the elections for being free and fair. "Three candidates, representing different political positions, were generally able to campaign freely, and freedom of assembly and association were respected in the Aug. 10 presidential election in Turkey," the OSCE statement read, saying: "There is a vibrant political life in Turkey." Likewise, the head of the PACE delegation, Meritxell Mateu Pi, said that the direct election of the president marks the start of a new era in Turkey's democratic development, and that they will continue to work with Turkey and support its efforts in fulfilling the Council of Europe's standards.

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