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Ballot Paper – Fear of rigging in Türkiye’s elections

Ballot Paper – Fear of rigging in Türkiye’s elections

Votes were cast abroad. More than three million Turks were invited there to vote for the president and parliament in their home country; Yesterday, Tuesday, the deadline for that expired. In Turkey itself, elections will be held on Sunday – in hot weather.

After more than 20 years at the head of the government and state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is struggling to be appointed president. But in opinion polls, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu is hot-tempered. There is already speculation about whether the potential transfer of power will go smoothly or if there will be riots. According to observers, caution is also required in advance. There are concerns about possible election fraud. On the other hand, Erdogan and his ruling party, the Justice and Development Party, have an edge when it comes to media coverage. Public television is under political control, some independent newspapers have been closed, and a number of journalists have been arrested.

On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of voters out of nearly 61 million eligible voters are not registered. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless after the earthquakes in February. About three million people have left the affected areas. If they wanted to vote elsewhere, they’d have to register there — but even 150,000 voters didn’t. It’s unclear if all others will return to their counties to vote – and whether their votes could be misused as well.

For Osman Isa, this is clearly the state’s fault. “The responsibility of the authorities will be to ensure that people are registered – or to organize their transportation to their cities,” says IHD board member Insan Haklari Dernegi. Not only does it denounce human rights abuses and tries to help the politically persecuted and victims of torture and state oppression, it now also monitors the electoral process.

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Isci has major objections to this. Not only has the electoral system been changed and the composition of the supreme electoral authority has been made, which increases the possibilities for political influence. The media was also exempted from its obligation to report proportionately on all parties running for elections. Added to that is the hot weather.

Expect an exit soon

“The increasingly aggressive atmosphere, changes in the law, the presence or absence of a media presence: all this increases the risk of election manipulation,” says Isci. “So we will observe, mobilize and document grievances.”

In addition to local election observers, including Oy ve Ötesi, foreigners will also attend. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently protested the fact that Turkey wants to influence the formation of delegations. Because the government in Ankara banned Scandinavian observers from entering the country. It is in skirmishes with Sweden over the extradition of people it accuses of supporting terrorism.

Even if potential uncertainties affect a few hundred thousand votes, these could be crucial to the outcome of the approaching election. Just like the voices of the Turks abroad. Their turnout exceeded 50 percent. A record turnout of more than 56 percent was reported in Austria.