Head of the Estonian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Marianne Mikko and member of the Delegation Jaak Madison participate in the PACE observation mission at the early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, Mikko in Diyarbakır and Madison in Erzurum.
“Media channels are being closed in Turkey, and businessmen who support the government buy them up. Covering the events in the country in the web is also becoming more and more complicated,” Mikko said. “Many members of parliament belonging to the opposition have been arrested, including the presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, and also several journalists and human rights activists are being detained,” Mikko added. She pointed out that keeping this in mind, the competition at the elections would be complicated.
“Turkey is an extremely important country for Europe. Therefore, I wish that Ankara would not deviate from the principles of democracy and the rule of law. As the rapporteur for the monitoring of Turkey, I know that there are many democrats in Turkey. It cannot be excluded that democratic forces could win the elections,” Mikko said.
“Last year Turkey amended its Constitution, so that after the coming elections, Turkey will essentially become a sultanate where the incumbent president Erdoğan will have absolute power.” Madison said. He added that observation was important because due to the constitutional reform, the elections reduced the probability that the accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union would be successful.
The 33-member delegation of the PACE will observe the conduct of the elections in Turkey alongside the observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Before the elections, the delegation will meet with the Chairman and members of the Supreme Board of Elections (SBE), the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTSC), as well as representatives of the media and civil society.
The early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey will take place on 24 June, nearly a year and a half before the date of regular elections. Last year, a constitutional reform took place in Turkey. As a result of the reform, the President will have great executive powers and the office of the Prime Minister will be abolished after the elections. The parliamentary system of government will be replaced by presidential system of government. A state of emergency has been in force in Turkey since the attempted coup in 2016, and it is in force also during the elections.
Since 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the President of Turkey.
For further information, please contact: Marianne Mikko, +372 5646 3614
Jaak Madison, +372 5817 1349
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