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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 31 August 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

Donetsk city was affected by sporadic shelling in the early hours of 31 August. “DPR” announced its intention to release 15 Ukrainian soldiers held in Ilovaysk. The situation in Mariupol was calm; the SMM observed checkpoints around the city.

In Kharkiv city the situation remained calm.

The SMM visited Shchastya (25km north of Luhansk city) and received information from IDPs that Luhansk city remained without water, electricity and gas. The local Red Cross was, according to several interlocutors, distributing humanitarian assistance in schools. According to the IDPs only one hospital was operational, using its own electric generator. Shelling however decreased over the last couple of days, the interlocutors said. The SMM was informed that on 29 August, 467 people and 99 cars passed through Shchastya filtration point. On 31 August the number of IDPs had already reached 300 by 11:00hrs, according to Ukrainian police present at the filtration point.

In Donetsk city the SMM observed sporadic shelling in the very early hours of 31 August. The SMM met with the “prime minister” of the “Donetsk People's Republic” (“DPR”) Alexander Zaharchenko and his deputy Vladimir Antyufiev. The “deputy prime minister”, speaking on behalf of Zaharchenko who was answering questions from media, said that the “prime minister” had met with 15 young Ukrainian soldiers who were held near Ilovaysk (47km southeast of Donetsk city). He announced that “DPR” intended to release all of them as they were conscripts. According to the “prime minister” on 30 August the “DPR” released 18 Ukrainian soldiers near Marinka (40km southwest of Donetsk city) when they were handed over to the Ukrainian army.

The SMM visited four government-controlled checkpoints (CP) located around Mariupol. Three of them (direction Yalta, Melitupol, and Donetsk) seemed to be operating normally with only light traffic. The SMM observed that the number of vehicles leaving the city on the road to Melitupol (Zhaporozhye region - E58) was fewer compared to previous days, when there were more than 100 vehicles in the queue. On the main road towards Novoazovsk, exiting Mariupol city, the SMM was told by Ukrainian security personnel present at the CP that no traffic was allowed to pass the CP in the direction of Novoazovsk.

The SMM observed relatively few pedestrians in Mariupol city centre and light traffic. The SMM visited the bus station number 2 on the west side of Mariupol city and observed only a few people there. The station’s chief administrator told the SMM that in the past week demand was exceptionally high for bus tickets, and in connection with this, on 29 August additional bus trips to Kyiv were scheduled to meet the increased demand. However, the interlocutor said, the situation had recently calmed down, and this weekend a sizeable number of clients had been returning the tickets they previously purchased.

In Dnipropetrovsk the SMM monitored, on 29 August at 18:00hrs, a demonstration in the city’s central “Europe Square”, organised by the association ‘Anti-Crisis Media Centre’. According to the SMM’s estimate about 400-500 people, mostly young, but also middle aged and elderly men and women, were present. Speakers talked about the need for Ukraine to be strong and united, and called for help from western countries, since Ukraine ‘is in a difficult situation, with a lack of resources’ to fight on its own. No police presence was visible. The event passed off peacefully.

In Kherson city the SMM observed on 30 August an anti-war demonstration at Freedom Square with about 30 people, mainly middle aged men, gathering and demanding a stop to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine. The demonstration lasted only a few minutes, after which about 70, mainly male local activists carrying flags of “Right Sector” and “Svoboda”, as well as people from the “Odessa Maidan” group arrived and chased the protesters away. The SMM saw that the main organizer of the anti-war protest was beaten by the opponent activists and suffered a head injury. After the protesters dispersed, the “Maidan” activists stayed on, sung the national anthem and Ukrainian slogans.

In Odessa the SMM observed, at Kulikovo Polye, a gathering of 70-80 opponents of Ukraine’s unity. Thirty police officers were present. At the rear of the trade union building there were two buses with approximately 60 additional police officers. The gathering began with a eulogy to one of the people who died on 2 May in the fire of the trade union building. The SMM witnessed an assault on a man who approached one of the opponents of Ukraine’s unity and was then punched by another activist of the same group. Apparently the man, wearing Ukrainian colours, was a soldier who returned from eastern Ukraine a month ago and seemed intoxicated. The police intervened quickly and took the man away.

The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained calm.

In Kyiv the SMM visited on 31 August a Lukoil gas station which had been reportedly attacked by unknown assailants on 28 August. The windows of the gas station were missing and were covered with plastic sheets and electrical wiring was hanging from above the entrance of the store. According to an employee, up to 30 people took part in the attack. Allegedly this was the second attack on the gas station in the last 10 days.

On 30 August the SMM monitored a gathering in Kyiv outside the President’s administration, consisting of approximately 70 relatives of soldiers from the 51st and 24th brigades of the Ukrainian army from the Volhynian region (western Ukraine) sent to Luhansk and Donetsk on the 8 April. The protestors said that the soldiers did not have a single day of leave since April. On 31 August the SMM followed up on the event and got in touch with one of the mothers, who informed that a representative of the President’s administration promised that soldiers could take their leave.

On 31 August the SMM monitored the situation outside the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv, where 12 women were demonstrating requesting the return of their sons, who have participated for more than 120 days in the security operation in eastern Ukraine, and asked for their rotation and/or leave. They mentioned that their sons were summoned for military training, without any notification that they would participate in the security operation in eastern Ukraine.

Contact:

Iryna Gudyma Kyiv Mobile: +38 067 4021716 Iryna.Gudyma@osce.org

 

1 September 2014
This report is for media and the general public. Donetsk city was affected by sporadic shelling in the early hours of 31 August. “DPR” announced its intention to release 15 Ukrainian soldiers held in Ilovaysk. The situation in Mariupol was calm; the SMM observed checkpoints around the city.
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Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 29 August 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitored a demonstration in Kharkiv attended by approximately 400 supporters of Ukraine’s unity in front of the Consulate of the Russian Federation on 28 August. The participants voiced their concerns over Russia’s Ukraine policy and called for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and unity. The peaceful protest was interrupted by flash bangs and other devices thrown at the Consulate which was followed by a police intervention. The crowd dispersed and continued the protest at Liberty Square where a cordon of about 100 police guarded the statue of Lenin. The protest finished peacefully.

In Luhansk, the SMM met the representative of volunteer battalion “Aidar” who confirmed that the battalion had a negative overall reputation. The interlocutor admitted that occasionally misbehaviour had occurred in the battalion and they had lacked support to handle these cases, and confirmed that cases of alleged abuses by “Aidar” members had been referred to the prosecutor.

Shelling continued in Donetsk. The SMM visited School 33 in Leninski district, which had been affected by shelling and observed medium to severe damage including the destruction of the fourth floor and the school equipment. The school director said that parents of 80 of the 483 pupils of the school had asked to transfer their school documents to other educational facilities outside Donetsk. The SMM also visited the Regional Clinic and Hospital situated next to the school, the surgery department of which had been affected by shelling causing moderate damage. The hospital’s pharmacists informed the SMM that the hospital lacked basic medication. The SMM also observed consequences of shelling in Kalininskii and Kievskii Regions, where a number of houses and buildings were destroyed.

The SMM was deployed to Mariupol area to monitor developments in the area of Mariupol and Novoazovsk.

The SMM attended a press conference following the Regional Defence Council meeting in Dnipropetrovsk. It was announced that the security situation on the ground had called for close co-ordination between the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia Regional Defence Councils, who from now on would take joint measures to reinforce the border area by strengthening existing checkpoints and establishing new ones.

The SMM met the Head of Public Peace and Order at the Kherson Regional Police Headquarters, who noted Crimea’s strong dependence on water and electricity supplies from Kherson region and Russia’s possible interest in creating a “corridor” from Mariupol to Crimea through various Ukrainian regions as key sources of tension in the Kherson region.

In Odessa, The SMM attended the press conference of Odessa Governor and the Vice Admiral Commander of the Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet, who called for replacing the Anti-War Protest March planned for 30 August with a gathering at the Potemkin Steps, as a march could potentially pose a greater security risk. The Governor also reiterated that necessary security measures are in place for the forthcoming Odessa Day Concert on 2 September.

The situation in Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk remained calm.

The SMM monitored a demonstration of approximately 70 participants in front of the Russian Federation Consulate in Lviv. The protesters expressed dissatisfaction with Russian Federation policies towards Ukraine. The protest was monitored by the local police and ended peacefully.

The SMM in Kyiv monitored the area of Border Crossing Point Grem’jach to the North-East of Kyiv along Route P12 and met representatives of the Ukrainian National Border Guard Service. The situation was observed as calm.

30 August 2014
This report is for media and the general public. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitored a demonstration in Kharkiv attended by approximately 400 supporters of Ukraine’s unity in front of the Consulate of the Russian Federation on 28 August.
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Russian authorities must end impunity for attacks on journalists, says OSCE Representative following another attack in Pskov

VIENNA, 30 August 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today called for the Russian authoities to fully investigate and prosecute all attacks on journalists following an attack against journalist Lev Schlosberg in Pskov, in western Russia.

Schlosberg, a journalist with Pskovskaya Guberniya newspaper and an active blogger, was beaten yesterday evening near his house. Reportedly he suffered a concussion and a broken nose. Schlosberg’s latest reports covered the death of soldiers who might have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“This and other recent attacks indicate the deteriorating safety of journalists in Russia. Attacks on journalists are not acceptable and must not be tolerated; there can be no impunity for the perpetrators. I call on the authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation to bring those responsible and the masterminds behind these acts to justice,” Mijatović said.

The incident follows recent attacks on journalists in the same region, as well as attacks on the Echo Moskvy journalist, Arseniy Vesnin, and the chief editor of Derbentskie Izvestiya newspaper, Magomed Khanmagomedov, which Mijatović raised with the authorities on 27, 25 and 21 August respectively.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.

30 August 2014
VIENNA, 30 August 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today called for the Russian authoities to fully investigate and prosecute all attacks on journalist following an attack against journalist Lev Schlosberg in Pskov, in western Russia.
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Spot Report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM): SMM establishment of advance team in Mariupol, 28 August 2014

 This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM established an advance team in Mariupol to monitor the security situation in the area. This presence is being strengthened.

On 29 August the SMM visited Mariupol (113km south of Donetsk) to monitor the overall security situation. The SMM observed that the situation appeared to be calm, with public transportation and shops working normally. However, the SMM noted significant movement of Ukrainian military vehicles - mainly armoured personnel carriers - through the city. The SMM visited a checkpoint (CP) located in Volodarskoye (24km northwest of Mariupol), where the situation also appeared to be calm.

The deputy chief of the local police informed the SMM that the situation in the town was calm. He stated that the area around Novoazovsk (45km to the east of Mariupol) was currently under control of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”), but that “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (“ATO”) forces were containing the situation and preventing further “DPR” advance. The interlocutor also told the SMM about ongoing shelling from Novoazovsk area towards the village of Bezimene (15km to the west of Novoazovsk). For this reason, he said, the road along the coastline, from Mariupol to Bezimene, had been closed in both directions. He stated that Ukrainian military forces, supported by a number of volunteer battalions under “ATO” command, were operating inside Mariupol and in the surrounding areas.

The SMM has established a base in Mariupol, and is strengthening its presence there in order to expand its monitoring activities.

29 August 2014
The SMM established an advance team in Mariupol to monitor the security situation in the area. This presence is being strengthened.
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Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected by all sides and at all times, says Chair

Bern, August 29, 2014 - Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter, expressed great concern about the spreading of military confrontation to further areas in eastern parts of Ukraine and the respective escalation of tensions. He also said that reports about growing flows of military personnel and military equipment from the Russian Federation into Ukraine were greatly troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. He recalled that the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its sovereignty had to be respected and preserved by all sides and at all times, adding that failure to do so would contravene international law and fundamental principles of the OSCE.

Emphasizing the importance of the recent summit meeting in Minsk and the striving for a diplomatic solution, Burkhalter urged leaders of all sides to help translate their commitment for peace into meaningful practical progress and to continue their dialogue to that end. Commending the work of the Trilateral Contact Group, he encouraged all sides to use this platform even more intensively and work with the CiO representative to simultaneously establish agreements on the conditions of a ceasefire and on the effective control of the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Burkhalter pointed out that the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine had established a base in Mariupol and was strengthening its presence there in order to expand its monitoring activities in the region and provide verified information about current developments. He concluded by saying that the OSCE would continue to assist Ukraine in efforts at de-escalating the situation and to support, facilitate and promote respective dialogue on the international level as well as within Ukraine. 

29 August 2014
Bern, August 29, 2014 - Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter, expressed great concern about the spreading of military confrontation to further areas in eastern parts of Ukraine and the respective escalation of tensions. He also said that reports about growing flows of military personnel and military equipment from the Russian Federation into Ukraine were greatly troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. He recalled that the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its sovereignty had to be respected and preserved by all sides and at all times, adding that failure to do so would contravene international law and fundamental principles of the OSCE.
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Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMMU) issues first thematic report on Internal displacement in Ukraine

Based on about 400 interviews with internally displaced persons (IDPs), conducted by Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMMU) teams during the period of 18 June to 19 July 2014, the SMMU has issued its first thematic report. 

The report aims to provide an overview of the current situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

The first part of the report briefly describes the current IDP situation, the normative framework in place to guarantee the rights of IDPs, and ongoing efforts to assist internally displaced persons. The second part of the report gives voice to IDPs themselves – based on interviews with IDPs from Ukraine’s eastern regions and Crimea, it outlines the IDPs’ own perceptions of their current situation and future plans.

14 August 2014
This report presents views on displacement and future expectations of around 400 internally displaced persons, interviewed by the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) in thirteen Ukrainian regions between 18 June and 19 July 2014.
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OSCE representative calls on Ukrainian authorities to drop legislative provisions endangering media freedom and free flow of information

VIENNA, 12 August 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed her concern about a draft law on sanctions registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 8 August and approved in the first reading today.

The draft law allows authorities to prohibit or restrict television and radio channel retransmission; restrict or terminate media activities, including on the Internet; restrict or prohibit the production or distribution of printed materials; and restrict or terminate telecommunication services and public telecommunications network usage.

 “I call on the members of the Verkhovna Rada to drop the provisions of the law endangering media freedom and pluralism and going against OSCE commitments on free expression and free media,” Mijatović wrote in a letter to Oleksandr Turchinov, Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, today.

“I fully understand the national security concerns expressed by the Government of Ukraine in relation to the ongoing conflict, but this should not justify a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” Mijatović said. “The measures included in the draft law represent a clear violation of international standards and thus directly curtail the free flow of information and ideas – the concept that lies at the heart of free expression and free media. The draft law effectively reverses much of Ukraine’s progress in media freedom.”

Mijatović also reiterated her firm belief that in difficult and sensitive situations, such as Ukraine is in at the moment, media freedom and a plurality of opinions must be protected.

“All citizens must have the right to access all available information, irrespective of its source, without interference from the authorities and regardless of geographical or political boundaries, so that universally recognised human rights and democratic processes can be reaffirmed and strengthened,” Mijatović added.

12 August 2014
VIENNA, 12 August 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed her concern about a draft law on sanctions registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 8 August and approved in the first reading today...
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Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine - Thematic report: Internal displacement in Ukraine
12 August 2014
This report presents views on displacement and future expectations of around 400 internally displaced persons, interviewed by the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) in thirteen Ukrainian regions between 18 June and 19 July 2014.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 hrs, 10 August 2014

This update is provided for media and general public.

Detention of those considered supporters of the “LPR” in the Luhansk region continues. People continue to flee Luhansk city. The clearance of the Maidan (Independence Square) in Kyiv is almost complete. 

The acting mayor of   Bilyi Kolodets (90 km northeast of Kharki  v city) told the SMM on 9 August that around 70 people from the town had received mobilization orders. He added that their mothers and wives were opposed to their mobilization.

A number of interlocutors in Pershetravneve (50 km southwest of Kharkiv city) told the SMM on 10 August that all internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, hosted by a local Baptist church in the town, had returned home. According to the interlocutors, these people have, however, been replaced by other IDPs from Donetsk and Luhansk cities.

A police officer in Starobilsk (86 km north of Luhansk city) told the SMM on 6 August that criminal investigations were underway into the organizing and financing of the 11 May “independence referendum” in Starobilsk. He said those who participated in the associated electoral commissions may also be prosecuted, but that this was unlikely for voters in the process.

Members of the Ukrainian 24th volunteer battalion told the SMM in Shchastya (23 km north of Luhansk city) on 8 August that they had earlier that day detained an lieutenant colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from Luhansk city and the mayor of Artymovsk (115 km west of Luhansk city) at the filtration checkpoints in Shchastya. They also confirmed that they had detained the mayor of Luhansk city the previous day, also at the Shchastya checkpoint, where, they said, other people fleeing the city had pointed him out. The SMM at the Shchastya checkpoint observed, on 9 August, volunteer soldiers detaining a man suspected of being a member of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (”LPR”).

The military officer in charge of the checkpoint at Shchastya told the SMM on 8 August that 612 people had passed through the checkpoint on 7 August. The corresponding figure for 8 August was 687.

A Ukrainian border guard stationed at Melovoye border crossing point (136 km northeast of Luhansk city) told the SMM on 9 August that the BCP had come under attack the previous night by assailants using Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). The border crossing point at Krasna Talivka (70 km northeast of Luhansk city) was reportedly attacked on 6 August. 

The situation remained tense in the Donetsk region. On 10 August the SMM observed people hiding in the basement of the railway station. On the previous day, the new “prime minister“ of the “Donetsk People's Republicˮ (“DPRˮ)  released a statement on the “DPRˮ website, saying the “DPRˮ was willing to enage in a ceasefire arrangement with Ukrainian military forces in order to avoid a “humanitarian catastropheˮ. 

The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk.

Managers at Kherson Master Power Grid (KMPG) in Nova Kahovka (76 km east of Kherson city) told the SMM on 8 August that the company – which, they said, supplied 95% of the Crimean peninsula’s electricity needs – had signed contracts with customers in Crimea in May. They said KMPG staff worked in Crimea, servicing lines and equipment. They said planned desalination plants – meant to compensate for water supplies lost from the North Crimea Canal – would require expensive line upgrades because more electricity would be required. They dismissed alternative electricity sources, saying those from Russia would require an expensive and lengthy project delivery cycle; and topographical and geological considerations precluded nuclear energy development.

The situation remained calm in Odessa.

On 9 August members of a local “self-defence” group in Hlyboca (30 km south of Chernivtsi city) told the SMM that, in addition to collecting items and transporting them to troops fighting in the east, they were providing assistance to three IDP families from the east now living in the town. Speaking later to the SMM, one of the families commended local authorities on their efforts to integrate the family, specifically mentioning the fact that the local school provided Russian-language instruction.

A number of local people in Krasnoilysk village (42 km south of Chernivtsi city) told the SMM on 10 August that local authority representatives had given guarantees that local men mobilized would not be sent to the east to fight in the on-going security operation. They said the guarantees had helped to end the protests against mobilization which had been taking place throughout the region. The interlocutors, however, were worried that these undertakings would not be honoured.

In Kelmentsi (90 km northwest of Chernivtsi city), members of an NGO collecting non-lethal supplies for soldiers fighting in the east told the SMM on 10 August that approximately 30 soldiers form Kelmentsi district were deployed in the east.

On 9 August the “self-defence” co-ordinator of Ivano-Frankivsk city told the SMM that “self-defence” volunteers – initially 100 but later approximately 450 – would soon be formed into a battalion, which would be sent to fight in the east. He added that finding volunteers was not a problem – the challenge was equipment. He also warned that efforts to de-stabilise western Ukraine were underway, evidenced, he said, by the recent attack on the mayor’s residence in Lviv city. He also said the influx of IDPs into the region provided good cover for people wishing to de-stabilise the region.

The chief of police in Boryslav (90 km south of Lviv city) told the SMM on 8 August that there had been no problems in implementing partial mobilization in the town. Members of a local “self-defence” group, however, told the SMM on the same day that some people in the town had mixed feelings about mobilisation, concerned specifically that draftees were being sent to fight in Donbas without the necessary equipment. The “self-defence” group members added that their organisation’s focus was on ensuring such aid reached the troops.

The clearance of Maidan square and adjacent streets in Kyiv – which began on 7 August – continued on 9 and 10 August. Municipal workers – operating trucks, cranes and bulldozers – and volunteers, numbering at one point almost 600, were overseen by a discreet police presence, and met no violent opposition from the few remaining people encamped on the square. By 18:00 hrs, 10 August, only one tent and a few barricades on an adjacent street and a makeshift stage on the square, serving as a memorial to those who died in February, remained.   

11 August 2014
Detention of those considered supporters of the “LPR” in the Luhansk region continues. People continue to flee Luhansk city. The clearance of the Maidan (Independence Square) in Kyiv is almost complete...
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Presidential candidates in Turkey able to campaign freely, but playing field not level, say international observers

ANKARA, 11 August 2014 – Three candidates, representing different political positions, were generally able to campaign freely, and freedoms of assembly and association were respected in the 10 August presidential election in Turkey, international election observers said in a statement issued today. However, the Prime Minister’s use of his official position, along with biased media coverage, gave him a distinct advantage over the other candidates.

“This first direct presidential election demonstrated that there is a vibrant political life in Turkey, and the preliminary results show the potential for a healthy balance in political forces,” said Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė, Special Co-ordinator who led the short-term OSCE observer mission. “However, the challenges we have noted, particularly the imbalanced media coverage, must be overcome to fully live up to the democratic aspirations of the people.”

The Supreme Board of Elections (SBE) and the election administration functioned in a professional manner, and there was overall confidence in the quality of the voter register, the preliminary statement notes. However, the absence of a right to appeal election administration decisions limits the ability to seek effective judicial remedy in case of election disputes.

“The presence of political party representatives in polling stations across the country yesterday is an important oversight mechanism,” said Åsa Lindestam, Head of the OSCE PA Delegation. “I hope that citizens and NGOs will also be given the right to observe in the future, bringing Turkey’s dynamic civil society fully into the election process.”

International observers noted that media coverage of the campaign reflected a bias in favour of the Prime Minister, with major television stations providing extensive coverage of his campaign and only limited coverage of other contestants. The imbalance in media coverage was compounded by the predominance of paid political advertising for him and by the absence of a clear definition of the impartiality requirement for broadcasters.

“The direct election of the president marks only the beginning of a new phase of Turkey’s democratic development,” said Meritxell Mateu Pi, Head of the PACE Delegation. “We will continue to work with Turkey and support its efforts in fulfilling the Council of Europe’s standards.”

The largely active and peaceful campaign was undermined by the misuse of state resources, the staging of campaign activities during official state events and, in some cases, attacks on the campaign of one of the candidates. The introduction of campaigning in minority languages was a positive change to the legal framework, although recent election administration regulations still require that the main language of campaign coverage and advertising be Turkish. The decision by the SBE to apply an earlier law than the 2012 Law on Presidential Elections, thus resulting in a ten-day campaign period, meant that campaigning was underway for almost three weeks before key campaign regulations took effect.

“Despite guarantees in the law, this decision of the SBE contributed to the lack of a level playing field”, said Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission. “The delay in applying these provisions and the misuse of state administrative resources benefited the governing party’s candidate.”

While the legal framework was found to be generally conducive to the holding of democratic elections, a lack of clarity and accountability resulted in inconsistencies in its implementation. In particular, discrepancies remain between the 2012 law and earlier laws regulating elections in general. The recent introduction of campaign finance regulations was a step forward, although these regulations do not extend to private and party sources of funding or provide for adequate oversight of campaign financing or sanctions in the event of violations.

In a positive step, the introduction of out-of-country voting gave nearly three million citizens abroad the chance to vote. However, active conscripts, cadets and prisoners who have been convicted of intentional crimes were not permitted to vote.

In the limited number of polling stations visited by the international observers, election day was generally organized in a professional and efficient manner, and polling station committees were well prepared and followed voting procedures overall.

The final report is expected to be presented in six to eight weeks.

For further information contact:

Andreas Baker, OSCE PA, +90 530 393 5427 or +45 60 10 81 26, andreas@oscepa.dk

Thomas Rymer, OSCE/ODIHR, +90 530 393 5434 or +48 609 522 266, thomas.rymer@odihr.pl

Nathalie Bargellini, PACE, +33 665 40 3282 or +33 388 41 2282, nathalie.bargellini@coe.int

11 August 2014
ANKARA, 11 August 2014 – Three candidates, representing different political positions, were generally able to campaign freely, and freedoms of assembly and association were respected in the 10 August presidential election in Turkey, international election observers said in a statement issued today. However, the Prime Minister’s use of his official position, along with biased media coverage, gave him a distinct advantage over the other candidates...
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A voter in Ankara casts his ballot during the presidential election in Turkey, 10 August 2014.
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