ANKARA, 4 June 2015 – The leaders of the OSCE’s short-term observer mission for Turkey’s upcoming parliamentary vote have completed visits to Adana and Diyarbakir provinces, respectively, while dozens of other OSCE parliamentary observers have arrived in country ahead of the election.
Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene, a Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly from Lithuania who is serving as Special Co-ordinator of the short-term OSCE observer mission, visited Adana province in south-central Turkey on 3-4 July.
She met with Governor Mustafa Buyuk; representatives of the Provincial Election Board; representatives of several political parties; representatives of civil society, including a voters’ group; and long-term observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR).
“The bombing of the People’s Democratic Party office here in Adana two weeks ago was a vivid reminder that Turkey has real security challenges. I was therefore pleased to hear from candidates and to personally witness that parties remain very active and engaged in campaigning for votes. I expect the Turkish authorities to continue doing their utmost to guarantee security on election day for all candidates, party representatives, facilities, and of course voters, whom I hope will turn out in large numbers,” said Aleknaite Abramikiene.
Aleknaite Abramikiene also served as OSCE Special Co-ordinator for the August 2014 presidential election observation mission.
Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain), who is serving as Head of the OSCE PA Delegation of observers, traveled to Diyarbakir province in southeastern Turkey on 3-4 July.
There he met with Governor Huseyin Aksoy; representatives of the Provincial Election Board; representatives of several political parties, including human rights and women’s groups; and long-term observers from the OSCE/ODIHR.
“I have certainly taken note of security considerations in Diyarbakir and other Turkish provinces near the Syrian border and have followed the situation in these areas carefully. I have been particularly impressed by the great amount of solidarity demonstrated by the local population vis-à-vis the tragedy of the Syrian refugees, whom the people here call their ‘Syrian guests,’” said Sanchez Amor, who is also the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on OSCE Border Issues.
“But my meetings have also addressed the many other facets of this election, including the media environment and other aspects of the campaign period. These will all factor into the OSCE’s assessment of this vote,” he added.
The observer mission will assess the elections against democratic commitments contained in the OSCE’s 1990 Copenhagen Document.
Aleknaite Abramikiene and Sanchez Amor also underscored the high level of international interest in the 7 July vote.
The OSCE’s short-term observer mission comprises nearly 50 OSCE parliamentarians from 20 countries.
The parliamentarians, who have begun arriving in Ankara, will participate in two days of briefings ahead of election day. The briefings will include representatives of the Supreme Board of Elections, party representatives, members of the media and civil society, representatives of the Radio and Television Supreme Council and long-term observers from the OSCE/ODIHR.
On 7 June, the OSCE parliamentary observers will deploy to polling stations across Turkey.
Aleknaite Abramikiene and Sanchez Amor, in conjunction with other appropriate officials, will deliver the mission’s statement of preliminary findings and conclusions at a press conference in Ankara on 8 June.