Turkish government unwilling to investigate election irregularities

Michael Georg Link, director of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The director of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has criticised Turkey for not cooperating in investigating allegations of fraud and irregularities in the country’s recent referendum.

In a statement to German media, Michael Georg Link, said the validation of unsealed ballot papers by Turkey’s electoral board (YSK) was forbidden by law and rejected accusations from Ankara that OSCE observers had been biased.

Responding to a question about a possible investigation, Link said, “Unfortunately we can not talk about cooperation” adding, “The election board’s decision to validate wrong or unsealed votes is contrary to Turkish laws.”

Observers have said as many as 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated.

In a statement on Monday, the OSCE criticised Turkey for holding the referendum during state of emergency and said the lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms had created an “unlevel playing field.”

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have applied to Turkey’s election board for the annulment and repeat of the referendum, while the HDP has filed a criminal complaint against the head of the election board, Sadi Guven.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Erdogan have refuted claims of fraud and irregularities and accused the OSCE report of being “politically motivated.”