Turkey

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Turkey.

Turkey: Opposition party to challenge referendum on expanding presidential powers at European Court | Los Angeles Times

The question now is whether Europe can and will step in to keep Turkey’s leader from expanding his powers. Turkey’s main opposition party announced Wednesday it will challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s April 16 referendum victory to replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful “presidential system.” The opposition will ask the European Court of Human Rights to render judgment, a day after Turkey’s top administrative court ruled it lacked jurisdiction over the electoral body whose oversight of the voting has sparked daily nationwide protests. “We faced illegal referendum results after seeing an unverified election,” Selin Sayek Boke, a spokeswoman for the Republican People’s Party told journalists in Ankara. “Our priority is standing up for the legal rights of all citizens. Thus, we would like to announce that we will soon apply to the ECHR.”

Full Article: Turkey's opposition party to challenge referendum on expanding presidential powers at European Court - LA Times.

Turkey: Merkel urges Turkey to respond to reported referendum irregularities | Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey on Thursday to answer questions raised by European observers over a referendum that expanded President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers and also said the EU must reflect on what future ties it wants with Ankara. A report by observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe found that up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Turkey’s April 16 referendum, which ended in a narrow victory for Erdogan’s push for greater powers. “The Turkish government must measure itself based on this report and answer the questions raised in it,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament. “We will very carefully follow how Turkey deals with reports of possible irregularities.”

Full Article: Merkel urges Turkey to respond to reported referendum irregularities | Reuters.

Turkey: Justice minister: Time to contest vote results over | Associated Press

Turkey’s ruling party and the main opposition party kept up their fight Saturday over the results of the referendum on expanding the president’s powers. In a series of tweets Saturday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag slammed the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for continuing to object to the results of the April 16 referendum due to voting irregularities, saying that judicial paths to reverse the ruling are shut. The CHP fired back, saying he was threatening the judiciary in order to get them to rule against the party’s case. Unofficial results show the “yes” campaign for transforming Turkey’s parliamentary government system into a presidential one garnered 51.4 percent of the vote. Official results by the electoral board are expected next week.

Full Article: Turkey's justice minister: Time to contest vote results over - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather.

Turkey: Election board rejects calls to annul referendum result | The Guardian

Turkey’s high election board has rejected formal calls by the country’s main opposition parties to annul the result of a referendum that will grant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers as president. Voters narrowly approved a set of constitutional reforms that will transform the country from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential republic, concentrating power in the hands of Erdoğan, who will be able to run for two more terms and potentially govern until 2029. The Turkish president has been handed the chance to declare himself as the only fit protector of a besieged state and its vulnerable people The two main opposition parties – the Republican People’s party (CHP) and the People’s Democratic party (HDP) – had lodged formal complaints calling for the annulment of the result, citing a controversial last-minute decision by the board to allow the counting of possibly hundreds of thousands of unstamped ballots. The constitutional amendments passed with a margin of just over a million votes. International observers had said the decision to count the ballots “contradicted the law” and removed a safeguard against fraud.

Full Article: Turkish election board rejects calls to annul referendum result | World news | The Guardian.

Turkey: Activists post videos of alleged poll fraud in referendum | Middle East Eye

Videos have emerged in Turkey of alleged ballot stuffing and polling station violations during the Sunday referendum that approved sweeping powers to the country’s president. Social media users circulated several videos, apparently showing violations on election day, including people voting more than once. In one video, a man who was identified by France 24 as Mehmet Koçlardan, the leader of a village in east Turkey from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), is seen casting five votes into a ballot box. Another video shows an unidentified person stamping “yes” on five voting slips and piling them on a table.

Full Article: Turkish activists post videos of alleged poll fraud in referendum | Middle East Eye.

Turkey: Election board rejects referendum annulment appeals | Deutsche Welle

Turkey’s top election authority has voted against annulling the referendum to further empower President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Main opposition parties had challenged the results following complaints of vote-rigging. Turkey’s high electoral board (YSK) rejected appeals from the country’s main opposition parties to annul the referendum results, the board said in a statement on Wednesday. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish HDP had called on the electoral board to annul Sunday’s referendum because unstamped ballot papers were included in the count. They argued that this contravened Turkish electoral law. The board overwhelmingly voted to reject the parties’ appeals.

Full Article: Turkey election board rejects referendum annulment appeals | News | DW.COM | 19.04.2017.

Turkey: Videos Fuel Charges of Fraud in Erdogan’s Win in Turkey Referendum | The New York Times

A village leader shoves four voting slips into a ballot box. An unknown arm marks three slips with a “yes” vote. An unknown hand adds five more. An election official validates a pile of voting slips — hours after they were meant to be validated. These are four of the scenes captured in unverified videos that have helped stoke accusations of voting fraud in polling stations across Turkey during Sunday’s referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan’s “yes” campaign has claimed victory by a small margin — 51.4 percent to 48.6 — in a vote that further insulates the president from scrutiny and tightens his grip on one of the most influential countries in the region. But while Mr. Erdogan has turned his claimed victory into a political reality, the legitimacy of his win is still in question.

Full Article: Videos Fuel Charges of Fraud in Erdogan’s Win in Turkey Referendum - The New York Times.

Turkey: International Monitors Say Turkey’s Referendum Tainted, Vote Count Marred | RFERL

International election monitors have criticized a Turkish referendum that has brought sweeping new powers to the presidency, saying the campaign was conducted on an “unlevel playing field” and that the vote count was marred by late procedural changes. Observers from the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a joint statement on April 17 that the legal framework for the referendum “remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum.” Turkey’s Central Election Committee (CEC) late on April 16 declared the “yes” camp as the winner with 51.3 percent of votes.

Full Article: International Monitors Say Turkey's Referendum Tainted, Vote Count Marred.

Turkey: Observer says 2.5 million Turkish referendum votes could have been manipulated | Reuters

Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday’s Turkish referendum which ended in a tight ‘Yes’ vote for greater presidential powers, Alev Korun, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission, told ORF radio on Tuesday. The mission of observers from the 47-member Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights body, had already said the referendum was an uneven contest. Support for “Yes” dominated campaign coverage, and the arrests of journalists and closure of media outlets silenced other views, the monitors said. But Korun said there were questions about the actual voting as well.

Full Article: Observer says 2.5 million Turkish referendum votes could have been manipulated | Reuters.

Turkey: Erdogan declares referendum victory, opponents plan challenge | Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in a referendum on Sunday to grant him sweeping powers in the biggest overhaul of modern Turkish politics, but opponents said the vote was marred by irregularities and they would challenge its result. Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and its three main cities, including the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul, looked set to vote “No” after a bitter and divisive campaign. Erdogan said 25 million people had supported the proposal, which will replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with an all-powerful presidency and abolish the office of prime minister, giving the “Yes” camp 51.5 percent of the vote. That appeared short of the decisive victory for which he and the ruling AK Party had aggressively campaigned. Nevertheless, thousands of flag-waving supporters rallied in Ankara and Istanbul in celebration.

Full Article: Turkey's Erdogan declares referendum victory, opponents plan challenge | Reuters.

Turkey: Voters Go the Polls After Erdogan Campaign | The New York Times

Turks have begun voting on Sunday on a referendum that would substantially reconfigure the political system and grant sweeping powers to the office of the presidency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes Turks at home and abroad will vote “yes” to his demand for the reconfiguration, but his critics fear the vote may add the weight of the constitution to his de facto one-man rule. If passed, the proposed changes would have a profound impact on a country that is a leading player in the Syrian civil war, a major way station along the migration routes to Europe and a crucial Middle Eastern partner of the United States and Russia. The latest polls suggest the vote could be close, despite the government’s prolonged intimidation of “no” campaigners, several of whom have been shot at and beaten while on the stump by persons unknown.

Full Article: Turkey’s Referendum: Voters Go the Polls After Erdogan Campaign - The New York Times.

Turkey: Observers to guard against voter fraud in Turkey′s referendum | Deutsche Welle

Turks are voting in today’s referendum on presidential power, and tens of thousands of ballot box observers have volunteered across the country to monitor the voting process. Some are independent, while others are aligned with political parties, but all will work to deter voter fraud in what may be the republic’s most significant decision since its founding in 1923. Shortly after voting began on Sunday, there were reports that “observers detained in Diyarbakir” and “Reports of monitors being barred from their assigned polling areas in southeast Turkey” … During a phone interview on Friday, Hakan Ozturk, a board member for the opposition-affiliated Unity for Democracy (DIB), said, “We expect fraud.”

Full Article: Observers to guard against voter fraud in Turkey′s referendum | Middle East | DW.COM | 15.04.2017.

Turkey: Referendum: millions of voters with myriad views | Reuters

There are only two options on the ballot – “yes” or “no” – but tens of millions of Turks will cast their votes in a referendum on Sunday with a myriad of motives. The referendum could bring about the biggest change to Turkey’s system of governance since the founding of the modern republic almost a century ago, replacing its parliamentary system with an executive presidency. The question on the ballot paper may be about the constitution, but looming large is the figure of President Tayyip Erdogan, who could win sweeping powers and stay in office until 2029 if the changes are approved. Polls show a close race, with a slight lead for “yes”. But the vote may yield surprises. “I’m a patriot,” said Cengiz Topcu, 57, a fisherman in Rize on the Black Sea coast, Erdogan’s ancestral home town where his supporters are among the most fervent. Topcu is voting “no”.

Full Article: Turkey's referendum: millions of voters with myriad views | Reuters.

Turkey: Constitutional referendum: all you need to know | The Guardian

Turks will go to the polls on 16 April to vote on constitutional amendments that would transform the country from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential system. The package, which includes 18 amendments, is being put to the people because the proposed changes to the constitution did not get the backing of two-thirds of MPs in parliament. In this case the reforms were passed in the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 16 January with a simple majority, and then approved by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The referendum could bring about arguably the most significant political development since the Turkish republic was declared in 1923. The determination with which Erdoğan has pursued it has seen him dispatch ministers to Europe in search of expatriate voters, and attack the Dutch government as “Nazi remnants” when it cancelled campaign events.

Full Article: Turkish referendum: all you need to know | World news | The Guardian.

Turkey: The upcoming Turkish referendum could end what little democracy is left in the country | The Independent

In the final days before Turks vote in a referendum on 16 April on whether or not to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dictatorial powers and effectively end parliamentary government, the mood in Turkey is prone to conspiracy theories and suspicion of foreign plots. A sign of this is the reception given to a tweet that might have seemed to the sender to be exceptionally benign and non-controversial. It was sent in Turkish and English by the British ambassador to Ankara, Richard Moore, and read: “Tulips in Istanbul heralding spring. Hooray!” Accompanying it was a picture of a bank of tulips blooming outside the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul. But for television sports anchor Ertem Sener the message had a much more menacing significance according to the Turkish Daily News. He tweeted to his 849,000 followers that the words were intended to show support for the failed military coup against Mr Erdogan in July 2016 and as an encouragement to “No” voters in the referendum. “This is how they are giving a message to Turkey,” said Mr Sener. “They are saying: ‘If we had prevailed [in the coup attempt] these tulips would have bloomed earlier. British dog. These tulips have been washed in [martyrs’] blood.”

Full Article: The upcoming Turkish referendum could end what little democracy is left in the country | The Independent.

Turkey: Referendum runs deeper than ′Yes′ or ′No′ | Deutsche Welle

In central Ankara, it can be hard to think amidst the noise. Campaign buses are parked daily on opposite corners of Kizilay square, each one blasting propaganda as shoppers snake through crowds of flag wavers and flyer distributors. Foot traffic is heavy and campaigners from across the political spectrum work side by side to sway voters for the upcoming referendum. In less than two weeks, Turks will decide on whether to consolidate power under the presidency, currently held by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Currently, national polls show the “Yes” and “No” votes are nearly tied and as the referendum approaches, the two contrasting visions for the nation’s future often play out in the streets.

Full Article: Turkey′s referendum runs deeper than ′Yes′ or ′No′ | TOP STORIES | DW.COM | 05.04.2017.

Turkey: Erdogan says Turkey may hold referendum on EU accession bid | Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey may hold a second referendum on whether to continue with European Union accession talks, following a planned vote on April 16 that could give him sweeping new powers. “Right now we are holding a referendum on April 16 and after that we could choose to do a second one on the (EU) accession talks and we would abide by whatever our people would say there,” Erdogan told a joint forum with Britain in the southern city of Antalya. His comments came a day after he vowed to review all political and administrative ties with the EU, including a deal to curb illegal migration, but it would maintain economic relations with the bloc.

Full Article: Erdogan says Turkey may hold referendum on EU accession bid | Reuters.

Turkey: Fears Grow Over Fairness of Upcoming Election in Turkey | VoA News

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed into law constitutional amendments aimed at giving him sweeping new powers under an executive presidency. The reforms are deeply divisive, with supporters saying they will strengthen democracy, while critics warn of dictatorship. Turks will decide in a referendum set for April 16. Doubts over its fairness are growing among opponents of the reforms, who claim a crackdown against them already has started. Leading right-wing politician Meral Aksener recently spoke at a rally to oppose the presidential constitutional reforms. The meeting ended up being held in darkness after the electricity to the venue was mysteriously cut. Aksener said she had little doubt the blackout was deliberate, shouting to the audience, “President, what you are afraid of, me as a woman opposing you and your powerful state. We look for democracy in darkness and hopefully on April 16th we will find democracy coming out of the ballots,” she later said to reporters.

Full Article: Fears Grow Over Fairness of Upcoming Election in Turkey.

Turkey: Referendum on stronger presidency to be held on April 16 | Reuters

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on replacing its parliamentary system with the stronger presidency long sought by incumbent Tayyip Erdogan, electoral authorities announced on Saturday. The proposed constitutional reform would mark one of the biggest changes in the European Union candidate country’s system of governance since the modern republic was founded on the ashes of the Ottoman empire almost a century ago. It would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, and appoint ministers and top state officials. It could also see Erdogan remain in power in the NATO member state until 2029. Erdogan’s supporters see the plans as a guarantee of stability at a time of turmoil, with Turkey’s security threatened by the wars in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and by a spate of Islamic State and Kurdish militant attacks.

Full Article: Turkey to hold referendum on stronger presidency on April 16 | Reuters.

Turkey: Erdogan buoyed by vote for powerful presidency | Associated Press

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday began campaigning for constitutional reforms that would greatly expand the powers of his office, only hours after a vote in parliament cleared the way for a national referendum on the issue. Speaking in Istanbul, he hailed the assembly’s early-morning decision saying a more powerful presidency will catapult Turkey to a position of strength. “God willing the people will give the true decision, the final decision,” Erdogan said. After an all-night session capping almost two weeks of acrimonious debate, Turkish lawmakers passed the controversial set of 18 articles. The measures still need to be approved in a national plebiscite slated for April. The bill would abolish the role of the prime minister and introduce a presidential system that critics fear lacks effective checks and balances. A change to the presidential system would be a crowning achievement for Erdogan, who has outmaneuvered and crushed all his major foes. The reforms would potentially allow him to remain in power until 2029.

Full Article: Turkey: Erdogan buoyed by vote for powerful presidency.