19 April 2017 – PEN International is alarmed at reports of attacks and arrests emerging from Turkey directed at voters following the referendum held on 16 April 2017.
PEN International is particularly concerned about the armed attack on the house of Irfan Değirmenci, an author and journalist, who was sacked from his job as a morning show host at popular channel Kanal D after announcing he would vote “No” and the detention of a total of 63 “No” voters during wide reaching protests that sparked in 14 cities on the first two days on charges of “provocation against the legitimacy of the “yes” vote.”
The results of the referendum, which was contested by opposition parties and PEN International in its statement yesterday also faced critism from international observers from the OSCE who’s statement of findings noted that it was undertaken on an “unleveled playing field,” outlining major concerns including the restrictions on freedom of expression under the state of emergency, the lack of independent media and judiciary, police interventions at “No” campaign events and the biased use of state resources. The OSCE also underlined that Turkey’s Supreme Board of Elections issued a controversial ruling on the day of the vote to accept ballots in envelopes not bearing official polling station stamps, stating that the ruling “continues to undermine a crucial safeguard and contradicts the law.”
PEN International condemns harassment and detentions against individuals who have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of assembly and expression and maintains its call to the Turkish government to end its escalating crack down on free expression, reverse its decision to implement a state of emergency for three more months and restore the rule of law immediately.
For further information, please contact Sarah Clarke, Policy and Advocacy Manager: email@example.com
For more information on PEN’s work in Turkey click here.