Last month, an election in Turkey kept President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his coalition in power. But experts are puzzled by the results — and caution that the election was not free and fair. Videos of ballot stuffing — mostly in eastern Turkey — in favor of pro-Erdogan parties went viral after they were posted online on election day. And both partisan and nonpartisan reports showed that allegations of electoral irregularity came primarily from eastern Turkey. An opposition-written report stated that 68 percent of the election day violations took place in the east — areas where Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) experienced significant gains. A report published by an independent fact-checking organization largely supports these claims.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Turkey.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has signaled the bringing of local elections forward to November 2018 instead of March 2019, on the condition that opposition parties agree as the process requires a constitutional amendment. “I think holding local elections on the first or second Sunday of November, which corresponds to a date between Nov. 1 and 8, would be appropriate,” AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş told the Demirören News Agency on July 2. “But three parties have to agree on that,” he added, in reference to the need to amend the constitution in order to change election dates. Elitaş’s statement followed comments from Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba, who fueled discussions by saying that the first year after a local election is usually “wasted” on preparations and orientation, and it would be better to spend the last months of the year on such preparations.
Turkish voters gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a decisive victory in national elections on Sunday, lengthening his 15-year grip on power and granting him vastly expanded authority over the legislature and judiciary. The election was the first to be held since Turkish voters narrowly approved a referendum last year to give the president — once a largely ceremonial role — sweeping executive powers. Mr. Erdogan will also have a pliant Parliament, with his conservative party and its allies having won about 53 percent of the vote in legislative elections on Sunday. Mr. Erdogan has overseen a crackdown on lawyers, judges, civil servants and journalists under a state of emergency declared after a failed coup two years ago. His critics had portrayed Sunday’s election as their last chance to prevent Turkey from becoming an authoritarian state.
The president begins his day with prayer, usually between 5 and 6 a.m. depending on when the sun rises. Then he spends half an hour on the treadmill and lifts weights. He has a light breakfast since he suffers from diabetes and drinks tea from the Black Sea. He reads memos from his advisers and the newspapers, usually the Islamist ones along with Sabah, which is run by a relative. At 8 a.m. Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets his chief of staff and his spokesman to go through the agenda for the day. At 11 a.m. he makes his way to the presidential palace. Erdogan lives with his wife in a villa on the grounds of the palace, which is located on a hill on the outskirts of Ankara. He had the palace built in 2014 and it’s a fortress that encompasses several buildings with a total of 1,000 rooms, a bunker and a clinic. Visitors are collected by car and brought by tunnel to the respective wing. The building is symbolic of the reign of this president: terrifying, powerful, isolated, controlled.
Turkey: Election watchdog removes key ballot security measure ahead of critical polls | Stockholm Center for Freedom
With four days to go until snap elections on June 24, Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has decided to remove a requirement that ballots be stamped by polling station officials in order to be considered valid and counted, according to a report by the Cumhuriyet daily. The YSK wrote in a recent circular that envelopes required the official stamp to be considered valid except in cases where there was no stamp from polling station officials but that the YSK emblem, watermark and stamps from the district electoral board were visible. According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, Twitter user Mahir Durmaz explained that the ballot box officials’ stamps were key to the security of the vote.
Turkey could stage another election if the alliance between President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and the nationalist MHP party cannot form a majority in parliament after Sunday’s vote, the MHP leader said. Turks will vote on June 24 in presidential and parliamentary elections that will herald a switch to a new powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a referendum last year. Polls suggest Erdogan’s alliance could narrowly lose its parliamentary majority, while the presidential vote may also go to a second round run-off.
A leaked video of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vote sparked fears of possible vote rigging ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24. The video shows Erdogan telling party officials to secure majorities on ballot box monitoring committees to “finish the job in Istanbul before it has even started.” In the video, Erdogan also comments on the pro-Kurdish HDP: “I can’t speak these words outside [publicly]. I am speaking them with you here. Why? Because if the HDP falls below the election threshold, it would mean that we would be in a much better place.”
A soft-spoken parliamentarian, it’s easy to overlook Fatma Benli in a busy cafe until she starts recalling the disinformation campaign that nearly derailed her election bid two years ago. The small room we’re in begins to shudder as the sitting MP for the ruling AK Party passionately explains that she could have lost because of fake news and online narratives. “There was fake news circulating on every major social media platform,” the 44-year-old told Al Jazeera, reeling off a litany of examples where she and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were repeatedly attacked in spurious social media posts. “Facebook, Twitter, it came from all sides.”
“Who has a smartphone?” Muharrem Ince, the presidential nominee of Turkey’s main opposition party, asked the crowd during a recent rally in Denizli. “Now, you all start broadcasting,” he roared. “There is the government media, but there is also the people’s media.” Ince’s call for social media streaming of his rally was not just an effort to reach out to a wider audience, but also a protest. Ahead of Turkey’s critical presidential and parliamentary polls on June 24, opposition parties face an unprecedented blackout by mainstream television channels, almost all of which are now in pro-government hands. Although Ince and his Republican People’s Party (CHP) still manage to get some coverage, others like the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are virtually banished from the screens, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an omnipresent figure.
Pressure against Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish bloc is nothing new. But with under three weeks left before the June 24 presidential and parliamentary polls, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is being squeezed more tightly than ever. HDP officials charge that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to prevent the HDP from winning the minimum 10% of the vote needed to take seats in the parliament so as to ensure its continued dominance of the legislative body. Under Turkey’s convoluted rules, the first runner-up in a given electoral district picks up a party’s seat if it fails to scale the national barrier and in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, that would likely be the AKP. An estimated 80 seats are at stake.