Published On: Fri, May 26th, 2017

CHP Deputy says government spent much money to support “yes” in referendum

Turkey's Referendum for constitution amendment

The first four months in 2017 passed in Turkey with campaigns conducted nationwide for referendum on constitutional amendments, often referred to as the “presidential system referendum”. Based on a statement by OSCE director (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) regarding the referendum both “yes” and “no” parties were impatient with their campaigns, but major differences were identified in the treatment of campaigners. In simple words, “yes” propaganda was allowed almost everywhere – schools, hospitals, public buildings, national TVs, etc. whereas “no” campaign had a difficult time to enjoy support due to aggressors on the streets and sometimes the intervention of the security forces, as well. In several cases, some official offices were also reported to participate in the “yes” campaign in an active manner – referred to as a violation of rules – whereas “no” banners were taken down and ripped by aggressors supporting “yes”, on many occasions.

On the other hand, an important statement was made by Aykut ERDOGDU, assistant secretary general of the CHP (main opposition party), who mentioned in a report titled “Public fund spending during the referendum process” that at least 15 billion TL of public funds were used for the “yes” campaign, directly.

It was also pointed out in the same report that while the expenditure of the government for January-April of the previous year was 176 billion TL, expenditure had increased by 40 billion TL in the same period of the current year, reaching 216 billion TL.

The report said of this 40 billion TL difference, over 20 billion were used indirectly in the referendum to make certain bulk payments – usually planned to be paid throughout the year – ahead of time. The report showed that such payments included student funds, welfare expenditures, and subsidies to certain sectors, such as the health institutions and the agricultural firms, as well.

The CHP deputy also said: “Allowances and funds are not to be paid in an earlier date. Thus the authority used fund transfers to the poor and the students and the stipends for food and clothing – normally to be delivered throughout the year – a way that helped to change the preferences of large groups of people on the referendum. This cannot be considered fair and it does not comply with the principles of running a campaign.


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