The recent elections in Turkey are under increased scrutiny, with results being challenged across the country not only by political parties, but also, for the first time, by non-partisan groups and individuals. Riot police using water cannon and tear gas dispersed protesters calling for an investigation into the local election results in the capital Ankara. Along with opposition parties, non-partisan pressure groups and individuals are contesting the fairness of some of the races. Soli Ozel, a political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Haberturk, says the country is witnessing a new development – citizen empowerment. “It’s very important: people are owning up to their votes and for the first time there is this great sensitivity. Their are a lot of people who consistently bicker on the Internet, saying: ‘Oh how awful these things are.’ Other people are basically taking matters into their own hands; we have not seen this before,” said Ozel.
Observers say there have been widespread complaints of ballots not being counted, exceptionally high turnouts – surpassing a 100 percent in certain areas – favoring the ruling party, and allegations of ballot-box stuffing.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Board, or YSK, is made up of senior judges and supervises the elections. But Kadri Gursel, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and the Al-Monitor website, says with the government giving itself greater control over the judiciary, the YSK’s impartiality may be in question.
Full Article: Turkey Vote Results Draw Scrutiny.