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Damning report by international observers on referendum in Turkey

In their preliminary report, the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the result of which the European Commission expects, brought harsh criticism against Turkish authorities.

As noted, inter alia, the vote took place in an "uneven" environment, both camps were not given "equal opportunities", citizens were not fairly informed about key issues and the restrictions imposed on fundamental freedoms, the arrests of journalists and media closure had a negative impact on pluralistic public information.

"Overall, the referendum was not up to standards of the Council of Europe. The legal framework was inadequate for an authentic democratic process," said mission chief Cesar Florin Preda.

Observers strongly criticized the fact that the election campaign and the referendum took place in the state of emergency declared in Turkey nine months ago, after the failed coup last July.

As mentioned, existing protections were not sufficient to ensure a fully democratic process, and especially in the provinces, local officials had used their powers given them by the state of emergency "in order to further restrict the rights of assembly and expression."

"A state of emergency should never be used to undermine the rule of law," said Preda