Turkish state won Kurds’ confidence, says Erdogan aide

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin says referendum Yes votes in Kurdish southeast outstripped usual AK Party voting

 The Turkish government received increased support from predominantly Kurdish parts of the country in Sunday’s referendum, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.

Writing for Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper Ibrahim Kalin said 50.8 percent of voters supported constitutional reform in Mus — a eastern province where the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party won only 24.8 percent in the 2015 general election.

“In Diyarbakir, Siirt, Van and Mardin, a similar change could be observed,” Kalin wrote.

“The vast majority of the Kurds support democratic reforms, investment, public order and the fight against the PKK.

“By making a very clear distinction between the Kurds and the PKK, President Erdogan and the government have won the Kurdish confidence again,” he added.

On Sunday, a majority of Turkish voters cast their ballots in favor of 18 constitutional amendments set to, among other things, see Turkey switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance.

According to unofficial results, the Yes campaign won with 51.41 percent, while the No votes stood at 48.59 percent. Voter turnout was 85.46 percent.

In his article, Kalin criticized the Western media and certain European governments over the referendum:

“The international media’s failure to report the facts provided a biased picture to international audiences.

“Let’s hope they see for themselves the fact that this is political activism masquerading as journalism and a disservice to the profession,” he wrote.

“What some European governments did during the referendum campaign caused an uproar in Turkey and raised questions about the future of our relations with Europe.

“To be clear, European leaders not only supported the No campaign to meddle in the referendum but also violated diplomatic conventions to prevent supporters of constitutional reform, including Turkish ministers, from informing millions of Turkish voters who live outside the country,” Kalin said.


The presidential spokesman also wrote about a controversial observation mission from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

PACE sent a 23-person delegation to join an OSCE monitoring team in Turkey to observe the Sunday’s constitutional referendum.

On Monday, the OSCE said a “lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms” had created an “uneven playing field” in Turkey’s constitutional referendum.

German lawmaker Andrej Hunko, a member of the PACE delegation, was sharply criticized over a previous image showing him holding a PKK flag.

“It became clear that some members of the mission were openly supportive of the PKK, which Turkey and the European Union consider a terrorist organization, on social media — which raises questions about their impartiality,” Kalin wrote on Wednesday.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. During its over 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, more than 40,000 people have lost their lives.