Türkiye: Runoff election: chief election observer calls for equal opportunities

Türkiye: Runoff election: chief election observer calls for equal opportunities

The elections in Turkey took place under unequal conditions: Erdogan and his AKP control the media in the country. Before the runoff, the chief election observer calls for equal opportunities.

Before the first presidential runoff in Turkey’s history, the coordinator of the OSCE and Council of Europe election observation missions called for greater equality of opportunity.

The mistake that the government side is clearly preferred in the media should not be repeated, said Michael Link (FDP) to the “Tagesspiegel”. Incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu will face off in the run-off election on May 28.

According to the preliminary final results, Erdogan received the most votes in the presidential election on Sunday and thus won. However, he narrowly missed the required absolute majority of more than 50 percent. Challenger Kilicdaroglu lacked at least five percentage points. Erdogan, 69, has been in power for 20 years. Polls had predicted a tight race.

Unequal conditions in the election

The elections took place under very unequal conditions: Erdogan and his AKP control most of the media in the country. In fact, their interpretation of things occurs much more frequently. There were also major inequalities between the government and the opposition when it came to the distribution of electoral funds.

It is the first time in Turkey’s history that there will be a run-off election for the presidency. In less than two weeks, the 61 million voters in Germany are again called upon to put their stamp on one of the two candidates. The 3.4 million eligible voters abroad must also go to the polls again.

There are still no official forecasts as to who has the better chances. Among other things, it will be decisive how the voters decide on third-placed Sinan Ogan from the ultra-nationalist Ata-AllianzOgan, who will not go into the runoff. It also depends on how many voters Kilicdaroglu can mobilize again after the disappointment of a first quasi-defeat, which came unexpectedly for many of his supporters.

Outstanding presence of Erdogan in the media

Regarding the first round of voting, Link said there had been irregularities, not so much on the day of the election itself, but during the campaign beforehand. “This election was characterized by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s outstanding presence in the media, and it was consistently positive. Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, had major problems appearing in the media. If he succeeded, it was mostly negative,” said Link.

So far, his team has not found any errors in the count “in the sense of manipulation or forgery,” said Link. The “very non-transparent way in which the highest electoral authority presents the results” urgently needs to be improved.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors elections “to assess the extent to which the electoral processes are characterized by equality, universality, political pluralism, trust, transparency and accountability, while respecting fundamental freedoms”.

Baerbock recognizes high turnout

There are still no preliminary final results for the election of the parliament. According to the state news agency Anadolu, the alliance around Erdogan still holds its majority. It is expected to have fewer seats than in the previous government period, but an absolute majority. Parliament was severely disempowered under Erdogan. Still, the AKP could use its majority there to block Kilicdaroglu if he wins the runoff.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock acknowledged the high turnout of almost 89 percent in the presidential election. The Turkish voters not only made use of their democratic right to vote, but with an enormously high turnout, said the Green politician yesterday during a visit to the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. “It shows how strongly they stand up for their democratic processes in a remarkable way.”

Source: Stern

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