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Turkish election peaceful but inequal say observers

The freedom with which candidates in Turkey's presidential election were able to express themselves was praised by OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation) observers, however the European monitoring organisation accused outgoing Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "misusing state resources" by dominating the media coverage, during a press conference in Ankara on Monday. Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė, special co-ordinator leading the mission, said inbalanced media coverage was "beyond democratic expectations". However, the introduction of campaining in minority languages and the voting opportunity for nearly three million Turkish citizens abroad were seen as positive steps according to the observers. "The presence of political party representatives in polling stations across the country yesterday is an important oversight mechanism," said Asa Lindestam, head of the OSCE 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."

Meritxell Mateu Pi, Head of the PACE delegation (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) said they will continue to work with Turkey and support its efforts in fulfilling the Council of Europe's standards.

Pi said the elections was only the beginning of a new phase. "Erdogan now has to work in benefit of all Turkish citizens and pursue more democratic reforms," she added.

The observers also indicated that complete and detailed report about the elections will be shared with media within eight weeks.

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