Will there be fair and free elections in Turkey? Possible election gimmick? What will be the consequences of this? What is the view of the German government? German politicians evaluated the Turkish elections, which they called “turning point”, to DW Turkish.
Before the elections to be held on 14 May in Turkey, the developments are also closely followed in Berlin.
The government, led by Olaf Scholz from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), is of the opinion that it is difficult to talk about a fair and free election environment in Turkey due to the anti-democratic steps before the elections. However, the government does not expect “serious manipulation” in the counting of votes.
The German government shared its observations and evaluations on the election process in Turkey with the deputies at the session held at the Bundestag Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Commission last week.
What are the Schloz government’s projections for the elections?
According to the information on the website of the German Bundestag, the German government believes that there will be no “serious manipulation” in the vote counts in the Turkish elections. However, government officials, drawing attention to the increasing pressure on the media, opposition and civil society, and the closure case against the HDP, think that it would be difficult to describe the elections held under these conditions as free and fair.
The decline in the independence of the judiciary, human rights and freedom of the press in Turkey is watched with concern in European capitals.
Noting that the “disinformation” law, which came into force last year, threatens journalists with up to three years in prison, government officials emphasize that this raises concerns especially about the election process.
Observers from Europe will go to Turkey
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is preparing to monitor the Turkish elections with one of the largest election observation committees ever formed.
SPD’s Human Rights Spokesperson Frank Schwabe assumed the chairmanship of this delegation.
Turkey, a member of the PACE, was included in the audit process on the grounds that it did not fulfill the ECtHR decision in the Osman Kavala case.
Answering the questions of DW Turkish, Schwabe said, “The Council of Europe observes the elections in all countries that are in the audit process. This time, the delegation created will be one of the largest election monitoring missions of the Council of Europe. This underlines the importance of the elections in Turkey. A delegation of 40 people was formed and I will chair this delegation,” he said.
SPD Human Rights Spokesperson Frank Schwabe, head of the PACE delegation to monitor the Turkish elections
Explaining that they will observe the election day with a total of 20 teams in teams of two, Schwabe said that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will also send an election observation delegation, that they will be in close coordination with this delegation, and that they will hold a joint press conference the day after the elections.
What are the criteria for a democratic election?
Sharing the information that he will travel to Turkey for a study visit that can be called the ‘pre-election mission’ in April, about a month before the elections, Schwabe gave the following information:
“On the one hand, we will observe and evaluate the actual election process on the one hand, but also the entire election environment across the country in general. That is, the general situation of democracy and the rule of law in general, how freely the press can work, whether the opposition has equal opportunities, as well as the election day. All of this is being reviewed for months by people formerly called long-term observers by the OSCE/ODIHR, and we will use their findings first.”
“There is no democratic environment in Turkey”
Evaluating the concerns that the elections in Turkey could not take place in a democratic, fair and free environment, Schwabe pointed out that the latest developments paint a negative picture.
The Social Democrat deputy said, “Turkey, like all other countries, has to ensure that the elections take place in a democratic environment. However, the audit reports, the reports of the human rights commissioner and the decisions of the ECtHR reveal that such an environment does not exist in Turkey, unfortunately.”
Pointing out that the closure case against HDP, the third largest party in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, sets an example for the problems, Schwabe reminded that Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is on trial. Moreover, according to the Council of Europe, Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala are still against the law. He pointed out that they were held in prison.
While evaluating how fair and transparent the elections will be, Schwabe explained that on the one hand, there was a democratic discussion environment before the elections, whether there was a fair race, on the other hand, they would monitor the processes such as voting and counting on the election day.
“Turkey has a very experienced and pluralistic structure”
SPD politician said, “When evaluating the elections, it is necessary to distinguish between the general environment in which an election takes place and the actual process on the election day. For example, whether cheating was done on the election day. Of course, I cannot assess whether everything is functioning properly on the election day. However, I can say this, according to Turkey’s democratic election standards. “It is a country that is very experienced in compliance and has a very pluralistic structure. Both parties and civil society exercise a strong control on election day.”
“Audit reports serve as a guide”
Reminding that the PACE reports are a guide on whether the election environment is fair and free, Schwabe said that many criticisms were expressed in the reports prepared so far:
“There are political prisoners in Turkey. Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş are examples of this. Turkey has not implemented the final decisions of the ECtHR until today. For this reason, an audit process has been initiated for Turkey in the Council of Europe. All these are included in the PACE audit report. This report serves as a guide for the evaluation of the electoral environment.”
PACE’s audit report serves as a guide for the evaluation of the electoral environment in Turkey.
Noting that every member state of the Council of Europe should have the expectation that democratic rules will be followed in Turkey, Schwabe said, “We evaluate every government accordingly.”
“The Erdogan administration is not a reliable partner for NATO”
The main opposition Christian Birlik parties (CDU/CSU) also have their eyes on the developments in Turkish politics.
Answering the questions of DW Turkish, CDU/CSU’s Human Rights Spokesperson Michael Brand explained why they attach importance to the Turkish elections.
“Unfortunately, the system under President Erdogan has turned into a very authoritarian state, which innocently imprisoned thousands of people, systematically attacked democracy, and where corruption is rampant,” said Brand, adding that under Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey is also a reliable partner for NATO. told.
CDU/CSU Human Rights Spokesperson Michael Brand said that Turkey under Erdogan is not a reliable partner.
Criticizing the Erdogan administration for trying to act together with Russia against Ukraine and pursuing an aggressive policy against the EU and NATO members, Brand pointed out that the AKP government has greatly damaged Turkey’s image in the world.
Brand, “President Erdogan, who has achieved historical successes, has made a great contribution to the Turkish people and Turkey’s allies, represents the exact opposite of Kemal Ataturk’s contemporary and historical Turkey.”
“An expression of a warning expectation”
Evaluating the Scholz government’s finding that elections were not held in a fair environment in Turkey, but no serious manipulation was expected, Brand pointed out that this could actually be read as a warning with diplomatic expressions.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Stating that the German government “cares to act with restraint in order to prevent the hysterical reactions of Erdogan or government members from time to time,” Brand continued:
“Therefore, his assessment of the elections is not a prediction but an expression of expectation, which is also a warning. Because anyone who looks carefully at Turkey, a historical friend of our country, knows that the incumbent president harms both Turkey and Turkey’s relations with Europe. “
“Cheating and manipulation cannot be ignored”
Brand, who is an experienced politician who has been following the developments in Turkey closely for many years, also emphasized that Germany and the EU cannot remain indifferent if the elections are manipulated and democratic results are not accepted.
“No one ignores that Erdogan’s system, which is known for corruption and numerous violations of law, will do everything to protect itself from possible investigations, to stay in power despite the election defeat. If the elections are rigged, Germany and the EU will of course find themselves complicit in this regime and “If they don’t want to make them enemies of the Turkish people, they will not be able to avoid sanctions,” he said.
“Our stance must be clear and unequivocal: Germany respects the democratic decisions of other countries, but does not remain indifferent when corrupt regimes wage war on democracy and human rights,” the German deputy said.
International Criminal Court controversy
At the meeting in the German Bundestag, it is stated that some deputies brought up the Erdogan government’s serious human rights violations to be brought to the International Criminal Court.
CDU’s Michael Brand, conveying his views on this issue, said that those who commit crimes against humanity should know that this will not get away with it and continued as follows:
“In the context of my knowledge on the subject and my visits to the International Criminal Court, I can say that crimes against humanity in their own countries can also lead to the conviction of heads of state. Vladimir Putin is just the last example of these people. In the past, those in power who committed such crimes thought they were safe. , but they found themselves in the dock.”
Pointing out that the International Criminal Court is a judicial institution, not a political one, each case will need to be examined carefully and said, “Politicization of the judiciary always leads to disaster, just as we have sadly seen in the case of Erdoğan.”
“People have a big responsibility”
The German politician added that the Turkish people in Turkey and the diaspora, such as those in Germany, have a great responsibility in the prevention and disclosure of possible electoral fraud in the Turkish elections.
The politician from the CDU emphasized that responsibility should be taken as an observer, observer and ballot box attendant at the ballot boxes in both Germany and Turkey, and noted that the fraud should be shared and announced through social media and other channels.
Tags: fair environment election process Turkey-