May 08 2018

EP president calls for fair and free elections in Turkey

The Turkish people must be given the opportunity to participate in elections that are free and fair, with the media being allowed to ensure the public makes an informed decision in presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, the EU’s Parliament Magazine quoted European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

“It is important that the media in Turkey provides all necessary information for voters. It is also necessary for the Turkish media to explain exactly who they are working for, whether it is for the Turkish regime or others,” Antonio Tajani told the magazine.

Turkey heads to the polls under a state of emergency implemented after a 2016 failed coup attempt. Journalists from media outlets closed under state of emergency decrees continue to face prosecution, conviction and imprisonment, the magazine said.

So far, 160,000 people have been detained in relation to the coup attempt and an equal number of civil servants have been dismissed from their jobs, it said, as part of the crackdown on alleged supporters of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Turkish preacher Ankara blames for masterminding the attempt to overthrow the government.

Last month, the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) called for the postponement of Turkey’s elections, citing the state of emergency. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım quickly responded, saying: “The Parliamentary Assembly should mind its own business.”