Legitimacy of Turkish vote questioned

It’s not surprising to see doubts raised over the legitimacy of the Turkish vote that will give the Turkish president far greater powers in  a major change to the Turkish constitution. But given the actions of the President since the coup attempt I doubt the vote referendum will hold him back from taking power,

Newshub (Reuters): Legitimacy of Turkish vote questioned by European observers

The Turkish referendum that gives President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers fell short of European standards, international observers say.

Turks on Sunday voted by a narrow 51.4 percent margin to change their constitution and grant Mr Erdogan extended powers. The main opposition party has demanded the result be nullified, saying the voting was marred by irregularities.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday that the people’s message was clear after a referendum and the vote had ended all arguments.

A narrow majority is not a clear message. It’s unusual to see a Prime Minister sounding so enthusiastic about a vote that strips his powers and hands them over to someone else.

The office of the Prime Minister will be abolished and replaced by an executive presidency

Restrictions on media outlets, arrests of journalists, inadequate legal framework and late changes in ballot counting were cited by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that monitored the vote.

Turkey’s High Electoral Board made a last-minute decision on Sunday to count ballots that had not been stamped by officials.

“Generally speaking the referendum fell short of CoE standards … it did not provide for a truly democratic process,” Cezar Florin Preda said.

It would be difficult to get close to ‘a truly democratic process’ given how many people have been arrested and how many media outlets have been shut down.

But the Turkish Government is defending the process.

Turkey’s foreign ministry meanwhile denounced election observers’ criticism that the referendum fell below international standards, saying their remarks lacked objectivity and impartiality.

“Saying the referendum fell below international standards is unacceptable,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that previous “politically charged” comments from OSCE monitors showed the team arrived in Turkey with prejudice and disregarded principles of objectivity and impartiality.

Both sides accuse each other of similar things. I doubt whether international criticism will hold President Erdogan back from taking more power.

The US State Department says it has taken note of the concerns and looks forward to a final report, suggesting it will withhold comment until a full assessment is completed.

I wonder what the State Department is doing about the mess the US democracy is in.

More details about the history, the changes and the process: Turkish constitutional referendum, 2017




1 Comment

  1. Turkeys voting for Christmas? Seems unlikely.

    “‘I care not who casts the votes of a nation, provided I can count them,” said someone once, apparently. Perhaps it was Erdogan.