CHP Spokesperson Selin Sayek Böke announced following the CHP’s Central Executive Committee Meeting that they will go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the referendum result and the Supreme Election Council (SEC) decisions. It was decided at the meeting held closed to the press not to go to the Constitutional Court, with the view prevailing that it would waste time to go to the Constitutional Court in the knowledge that the application would be declined considering its rulings in this matter. The application to the ECHR will be made within one week – ten days. The CHP Central Executive Committee Meeting convened under the chairship of CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu. The meeting addressed the course of events following the referendum, the SEC and Council of State decisions and applications to the Constitutional Court and the ECHR. Party staff conveyed to Kılıçdaroğlu the information they had obtained from the grassroots over this period. From what has been gleaned, it was decided for a rule-book congress to be held on a libertarian and democratic party programme that would set an example to the world and, rather than an extraordinary congress as mooted at the Party Assembly, for the wheels to be set in motion for the ordinary congress slated for January 2018 along with the province and sub-province congresses. It is planned to hold the rule book and party manifesto congresses prior to the ordinary congress.
Going in the knowledge of this would waste time
Following the meeting at which taking the referendum to the ECHR and the Constitutional Court were discussed, Böke announced that they would apply to the ECHR. It was decided at the closed meeting not to apply to the Constitutional Court. At the meeting, at which it was recalled that the Constitutional Court had passed rulings in this regard in 2015 and said that there can be no individual applications over SEC decisions, it was stated that making an application would be to go in the knowledge that it would be declined. It was stressed that the Constitutional Court’s case law in this matter had become established and so domestic legal remedies had in any case been exhausted. At the meeting, at which the basic issue of whether the ECHR will examine the case was raised, it was stressed that in its rulings until now the legislative assembly had been the focal point of its deliberations and various decisions had seen a broadening of this. At the meeting, with it noted that the ECHR had indicated in one of its recent rulings that, as regards referendums, if there are fundamental changes it may amend its established case law, it was stressed that with reference to the UK it had said they had not examined referendums until now but if serious grounds arose they could do so.
It affects our legislative assembly
It has been learnt that staff said in this connection, ‘The important thing here in this context is for us to get across and gain acceptance for the position that this referendum is a referendum that also affects the legislative assembly. In these terms, we think that there has in particular been a breach of the right to free elections under Article three of the additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. The SEC, precisely when it took this decision, made reference to this article and the additional protocol. The SEC, relying on the article on which we will rely, in a sense abused that article to produce such a result. We think that we have a strong hand in this regard, too.’ At the meeting, at which it was stated that the constitutional amendment that was put to referendum strips the legislative assembly of its powers and enables the president to act as the legislative assembly by empowering him to issue decrees, it was decided to embark on a serious study of these matters. The CHP is planning to conduct studies of both case law and the law and to make a dual application both as a legal person and individually.
What will be on the application form?
Included on the application form to be submitted to the ECHR will be the holding of the referendum under state of emergency conditions, the waging of an unfair campaign, the holding of a poll without the requisite stamps, poll security, the elimination of the right to campaign, the intervention by the SEC in the count by passing two different resolutions on the same day, the implementing of a secret count rule and the OSCE, Venice Commission and PACE findings. Kılıçdaroğlu also addressed the PACE Turkey decision at the meeting and said, ‘I greeted it with sadness. Turkey’s esteem is to a large extent being dragged through the mud by the ruling party. We end up with a result in which all of Turkey suffers from the result. As ever, we will continue to adopt a pro-EU stance.’
All of Turkey pays the price
Böke held a press conference following the Central Executive Committee Meeting. She said that, although the AKP was responsible for the PACE decision, it affected 80 million and Turkey was being told with the decision, ‘You have lost your Council of Europe membership status. Every step you take will be monitored.’ Böke, stating that Turkey had been taken back thirteen years with the decision, said, ‘Accountability should be demanded for this immediately.’ Böke, who placed stress on human rights and stated that our newspaper’s columnists, cartoonists and managers along with the leaders and MPs of a political party had been held in prison for a long time, said, ‘A “Balbay” decision is warranted immediately for the detained MPs. Their detentions must be ended.’
1.2 million unstamped yeses
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy General Chair Erdal Aksünger announced the numbers of the unstamped ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes that the Supreme Election Council (SEC) controversially deemed valid in the 16 April referendum. Aksünger said that the unstamped votes numbered one and a half million, and up to 300,000 of them were for ‘no’ and the remainder for ‘yes’. Aksünger said they had attained this breakdown from studying the complaints that came in from individual ballot boxes. Aksünger said that the ‘evidence had been eliminated,’ with these voting slips also having being stamped following the SEC’s announcement.