OSCE's report scandal grows as more observers revealed as PKK sympathizers

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 19.04.2017 23:35
Updated 19.04.2017 23:37

The controversy on the objectivity of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) report on Turkey's constitutional referendum grows after more European observers were revealed as sympathizers of the PKK and joined numerous events organized by the terrorist organization, also urging people to vote "no" in the referendum. On Monday, Turkish lawmaker and Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry Mustafa Yeneroğlu slammed the participation of German Left Party (Die Linke) lawmaker Andrej Hunko as a referendum observer of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) because he had attended demonstrations held by the PKK terrorist organization.

Yeneroğlu urged PACE to apologize to Turkey for sending a terror group sympathizer to "observe" the referendum, while the Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement criticizing the report for being biased and prejudiced.

Moreover, Hunko, who came to Turkey to observe the referendum as part of PACE's monitoring team in the southeastern Diyarbakır province, not only participated in pro-PKK rallies but also urged the German parliament to remove the PKK from the terrorist organizations list. He also spoke to a Turkish daily in March, saying he is in favor of the "no" vote in the referendum.

However, it was revealed that Hunko was not the sole "observer" having sympathy for the PKK terrorist organization as well as supporting the "no" campaign in the referendum. Nikolaj Villumsen, a Danish member of parliament from the Enhedslisten party, came to Turkey as a PACE observer in the constitutional referendum who also actively attended the "no" campaign before the referendum period and raised money for the PKK's Syrian offshoot's Democratic Union Party (PYD)'s armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Villumsen, one of the five members of PACE's Danish delegation who observed the election process in the western İzmir province, is known for his support for the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and often visits the HDP's municipalities in Turkey. He also published a video with another Enhedslisten Member of Parliament Pernille Skipper urging Turks to vote "no" while the voting process continued for Turkish citizens in foreign countries.

Villumsen, likewise with Hunko, also urged his country's parliament to remove the PKK from the EU terrorist organizations list. Moreover, in 2014, Villumsen handed over 53,500 Kron (nearly $8,300) to PYD leader Salih Muslim in Copenhagen. After the handover, the Danish People's Party's (DPP) said Enhedslisten may commit a terror crime and urged the Danish police to investigate the issue.

Apart from Villumsen and Hunko, European Council observers Stefan Schennach from the Social Democratic Party of Austria as well as Alev Korun and Zerife Yatkın from Austria's Green Party were revealed as other members supporting or present in PKK activities and actively supported the "no" campaign.

Speaking on the issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the OSCE report on the April 16 referendum has "no reliance or respectability." Speaking at a joint conference held yesterday with his Dominican counterpart Miguel Vargas in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said, "Whether the OSCE's report is favorable or unfavorable, it no longer has any reliance or respectability. The [OSCE] has to be objective and balanced." Calling on the OSCE delegation to not interfere with Turkey's domestic politics, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu stressed that "the OSCE's report has no reliability as their observations lack objectivity and are extremely partial."

"You cannot interfere with Turkey's domestic politics and if you pose with PKK rags then we will not consider your analysis seriously," he added.

Underlining that the OSCE is only subjected to do technical analysis, Çavuşoğlu also emphasized that "the OSCE is subjected to identify how the elections are being held. However, when we look at the delegation, there are members who are supporters of the PKK and those who turned into a 'no-bloc' supporter after arriving here." Further stressing that prejudices only result in "incorrect assessments," Turkish Minister Çavuşoğlu noted that "some of the observers joining the 'no' campaigns or supporting the PKK had no value in the eyes of us or our people. Everyone must respect the people's will."

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