OSCE released the preliminary report on the referendum in Turkey based on the findings of international observers, who state that the referendum was held in an unlevel playing field and did not live up to Council of Europe standards. It is also stated that the legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process.
In the preliminary report, the international observers state that lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms created unlevel playing field in Turkey’s constitutional referendum. The 16 April constitutional referendum in Turkey was contested on an unlevel playing field, and the two sides in the campaign did not have equal opportunities, the international observers concluded in a statement released today.
The report states, “while the technical aspects of the process were well administered, voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform, and limitations on fundamental freedoms had a negative effect."
It is also stated that the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards. It is also stated that the legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process.
No equal opportunities, "yes" dominated the media
OSCE expressed its criticism against the referendum which was held under the state of emergency without a free media. “The referendum took place in a political environment in which fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency, and the two sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to the voters,” said Tana de Zulueta, Head of the ODIHR limited election observation mission. “Our monitoring showed the ‘Yes’ campaign dominated the media coverage and this, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters’ access to a plurality of views.”
“SBE undermined an important safeguard and contradicting the law”
Mentioning SBE's, supreme board of elections of Turkey, last minute decision for unstamped ballots, OSCE stated: The SBE issued instructions late in the day that significantly changed the ballot validity criteria, undermining an important safeguard and contradicting the law.
Click for reading the statement and the full report