PARIS: A French delegation of Communist party members, including a senator, was detained in Turkey on Sunday while trying to observe parliamentary and presidential polls there, the party announced.
“Turkish authorities want to snuff out any criticism of the massive fraud underway,” a Communist Party statement said, adding that senator Christine Prunaud was among those detained.
The state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu reported Sunday that around 10 Europeans faced legal action including three French citizens, three Germans and four Italians allegedly for acting as election observers without accreditation .
One of the arrested French Communists, Hulliya Turan, told AFP that the group was arrested in Agri in the east at 1030 am (0730 GMT) and held all day in a police station until 5 pm when polling stations closed.
“They told us that we will not be prosecuted because our presence was not a crime,” Turan said.
Turkey´s main opposition party, the Republican People´s Party (CHP), has expressed alarm over the number of complaints of voting violations in the mainly Kurdish south east of the country.
Turks are voting in twin legislative and parliamentary elections which are seen as the toughest test President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has undergone at the ballot box.
Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens are responding to calls from the opposition to monitor the polls for a clean election and a delegation of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is also in place.