UN Official Urges Turkey to End State of Emergency For Credible Elections

A top human rights official at the United Nations urged the Turkish government to end the state of emergency to pave the way for more credible elections amid concerns over fair and free competition among candidates and parties.

Zeid al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that “harsh penalties for dissent are hard to reconcile with credible elections.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for snap elections on June 24. Observers and rights groups point to the lack of even and fair conditions in the campaign trail. When the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) officially announced its presidential candidate on Friday, no mainstream television channel aired the party announcement.

“The space for dissent in Turkey has shrunk considerably over the past two years,” Hussein said. He also voiced his concerns over the arrests of journalists and detention of protesters during May Day protests.

He added: “It is difficult to imagine how credible elections can be held in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalized so severely.”

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