Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Turkish opposition parties denied equal campaigning rights in election: OSCE

Turkish opposition parties denied equal campaigning rights in election: OSCE

Global observers have denounced the lack of "equal" conditions for candidates to campaign in Turkey's twin presidential and parliamentary elections that were swept by incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party.

Although the head of Turkey's Supreme Election Council, Sadi Guven, confirmed Erdogan's victory he added that the official results will be announced on July 5.

Erdogan emerged victorious from his biggest electoral challenge in 15 years, giving him the sweeping executive powers he has long sought and extending his grip on Turkey until at least 2023.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has become one of the first world leaders to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdogan on being re-elected as Turkey's president.

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, urged Turkey to address "key shortcomings regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights, noting that the new presidential system has "far reaching implications for Turkish democracy".

He also pledged a more "determined" fight against outlawed Kurdish rebels and alleged members of a movement led by US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup against his government. They point to a widening crackdown since a failed 2016 military coup that has seen some 160,000 people detained and media outlets shut down. "We will go after terror organizations with stronger determination".

He is loved by millions of devoutly Muslim working class Turks for delivering years of stellar economic growth and overseeing the construction of roads, bridges, airports, hospitals and schools.

Mr Erdogan's main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People's Party (CHP), conceded defeat but branded the elections "unjust" and said the presidential system that now takes effect was "very dangerous" because it would lead to one-man rule.

Erdogan's Justice and Development Party fell short of a parliamentary majority but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally would allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government dominated the media, abused access to all government and municipal resources, and benefited from a state of emergency in suppressing the opposition campaign.

In his victory speech, he said: "The victor of this election is each and every individual among my 81 million citizens". "That's what I would have done if I had won".

"Turkey has cut off its links with democracy. We have now fully adopted a regime of one-man rule", he told journalists at a post-election news conference.

The stakes were particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers, without even a prime minister, under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan but which opponents say grants autocratic powers.

Erdogan, who secured a new five-year term as President on the first round of voting on Sunday, re-enters office with a vast array of new powers at his disposal, following a narrowly-won constitutional referendum last year.

In addition to the country-wide celebrations, with young and old taking to the streets, Turks overseas also flocked to the streets to celebrate Erdoğan's victory, particularly in European countries.

The HDP easily broke through the 10 per cent minimum vote threshold to pick up 67 seats, sparking wild celebrations in its Kurdish-majority stronghold of Diyarbakir.

"The fact that I was forced to campaign in detention conditions was the greatest injustice", Demirtas said.

On Monday, Demirtas tweeted: "While other candidates could stage 100 campaign rallies, I was able to send out 100 tweets".

He has denied any wrongdoing.

This outcome also reveals the durability and strength of nationalism in Turkey.

However, Yegen stressed that the recent practises under the state of emergency created high tensions inside Turkey and put the government in a hard spot internationally by bringing criticism over human rights and democratic standards in the country.

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