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The rigging of the Turkish general elections

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The observers of the European Council and the OSCE strongly criticised the rigged Turkish general elections of the 1st November 2015. However, none of them dared to draw any conclusions about the illegitimacy of the elected representatives, given that Turkey is a member of NATO.

« The electoral campaign was unfortunately marred by inequity and, to a certain extent, by fear », declared Andreas Gross, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council.

« The violence in the South-East of the country, which is predominaently Kurdish, weighed heavily on the voting, and the recent aggressions and arrests of both candidates and militants, mainly from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), are a source of concern insofar as they prevented the targeted parties from campaigning », declared Margareta Cederfelt, head of the delegation of the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly. « In order for an electoral process to be truly democratic, the candidates should feel free to organise their campaigns, and the voting public should feel that they can go to vote in safety ».

In actual fact :
- Many citizens were barred from presenting their candidacy on the pretext that they had not yet accomplished their obligatory military service, or that they had been found guilty of one of the offences which feature in a long list of reprehensible behaviour, often minor.
- Conscripts, students of military schools and citizens in temporary detention were deprived of their right to vote.
- The opposition media were gagged : the major dailies Hürriyet and Sabah, as well as the television channel ATV, were attacked by thugs in the pay of the party in power ; enquiries were aimed at journalists and organs of the Press who were accused of supporting terrorism, or of having expressed diffamatory opinions against President Erdoğan ; Web sites were blocked ; digital service providers cut off many TV channels ; three out of five national TV channels, including the public channel, were clearly in favour of the party in power ; the other national TV channels, Bugün TV and Kanaltürk, were closed by the police.
- A foreign state, Saudi Arabia, spent 7 billion (!) in « gifts » in order to « convince » the elecorate to support President Erdoğan.
- 128 political services of the left-wing party (HDP) were attacked by thugs working for President Erdoğan. Several candidates and their staff were beaten up. More than 300 Kurdish businesses were destroyed. Tens of HDP candidates were arrested and placed in temporary detention for the duration of the campaign.
- More than 2,000 opponents of the government were killed during the electoral campaign, either in terrorist-style attacks, or else by governmental repression aimed at the PKK. Several villages in the South-East of the country were partially destroyed by Army tanks.
- International observers were asked to leave seven polling stations, and citizen observers authorised by the various political parties were forbidden access to certain polling stations.
- The ceiling of a minimum of 10% of voices for a political organisation to reach Parliament limits political pluralism, and the system used for determining the number of seats per circumscription leads to huge anomalies concerning the number of voters per seat – and outrageously favours the l’AKP.
- The Constitutional Court stated that the decisions of the Electoral Commission could not be re-examined, even when there had been serious obstructions to fundamental freedoms and rights. There is therefore no possible legal resort - either concerning the unfair character of the campaign, or the restrictions of the right to candidacy and the right to vote – which are contrary to Turkey’s international engagements - nor concerning the stuffing of ballot boxes. In the end, the report announced 50,81 % of voices for the AKP.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

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