3 Nov 2015

Turkey vote hindered by violence - observers

9:57 am on 3 November 2015

European observers say Turkey's election was marred by a media crackdown, violence and other security concerns.

AKP supporters in Istanbul holding a flag with a portrait of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they celebrate the election result.

AKP supporters in Istanbul on Sunday hold a flag with a portrait of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AFP

The election delivered a clear victory to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a dramatic turnaround after it lost its parliamentary majority in June.

In a report on Sunday's vote the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the campaign was characterised by "unfairness" and "fear" after a surge in violence.

"While Turkish citizens could choose between genuine and strong political alternatives in this highly polarised election, the rapidly diminishing choice of media outlets, and restrictions on freedom of expression in general, impacted the process and remain serious concerns," Ignacio Sanchez Amor, special coordinator and leader of the OSCE observer mission, said in a statement.

Concerns over media freedoms were already running high in the run-up to the poll after riot police last week stormed the Ankara and Istanbul offices of two television stations critical of Mr Erdogan.

"Physical attacks on party members, as well as the significant security concerns, particularly in the southeast, further imposed restrictions on the ability to campaign," Mr Amor added.

A massive suicide bombing on a peace rally in Ankara last month killed 102 people in the worst attack in the country's history, with political parties temporarily suspending campaigning.

"Unfortunately, the campaign for these elections was characterised by unfairness and, to a serious degree, fear," said Andreas Gross, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) delegation.

He called on Erdogan to work for an "inclusive political process" to deal with challenges facing Turkey.

The elections were also held against a backdrop of a military campaign against Kurdish rebels in the southeast of Turkey and in northern Iraq after attacks on security forces by the militants.

Observers said the army's operations in the Kurdish-dominated southeast hampered the ability of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to campaign.

Supporters of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul wave a giant Turkish flag as they celebrate the election result.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters celebrating in Istanbul. Photo: AFP

Reported results of the election also showed: