Turkey’s main opposition to apply to European Court of Human Rights on referendum results

By Hürriyet Daily News

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum in the beginning of next month.

Speaking about the application, CHP deputy leader and spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said the court practices of the ECHR until today have never been in favor of the CHP, but violations during the referendum could change the pattern.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision to accept unstamped ballot papers “unless it can be proved that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum, in which the “yes” campaign emerged as the winner with 51.4 percent of the votes.

CHP applied to the YSK to annul the results, but it was rejected. The party then applied to the Council of State in order to repeal the YSK decision to change the legal criteria of the validity of unsealed ballots on April 16, which was also turned down.

Assuming that the Constitutional Court will also reject their application, the party announced that it is considering applying to the ECHR, bypassing the top court, and has been carrying out application efforts, daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 14.

The party is discussing the paths to follow if a desired result is not obtained from the ECHR in order to prevent the electorate from thinking that their votes were not protected.

The application process is being carried out by Tezcan, as the party had been in attempts to find an article of the European Convention on Human Rights that it can base its violation claims on.

After finding the necessary article, the CHP started to write an application letter regarding the “violation of free elections,” which will include the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) report on the referendum.

In addition, the CHP took the opinions of legal experts including former ECHR judge Rıza Türmen.

Tezcan also said the party aims to finish writing the application letter by May 25.