European officials to monitor Turkey’s local elections

Nearly two dozen European officials are set to monitor Turkey’s March 31 local elections with observer missions in the country’s largest cities, the Council of Europe reported on Tuesday.

A delegation from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, comprising 22 observers from 20 countries, will carry out an election observation mission.

On 28 and 29 March, the delegation will hold briefings in Ankara with representatives of the diplomatic corps, State authorities, non-governmental organisations, think tanks, media outlets and political parties.

On election day, ten observer teams will operate in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and other areas of the country to observe the election procedures in polling stations. The mission expects to present its preliminary conclusions at an Ankara press conference on April 1.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and European Parliament sent observers to monitor Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections last June.

The country’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the monitors sought to create chaos by tainting the vote process after the government refused entry to an OSCE monitor. On election day last June, Turkish authorities detained 10 European officials, charging them with acting as election observers without accreditation.