Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Turkey anyone?

The continuing protests and repression in Turkey have got, at best, sporadic coverage. The attempts to ban Twitter and YouTube after they were used to leak evidence of corruption did get some notice. But the local election results are being portrayed uncritically as an endorsement of Erdogan and an indicator of opposition failure. For example, Simon Tisdall reports in the Guardian;
For the first time, it was suggested, his (Erdogan's) remarkable grip on the working class and rural vote was beginning to slip. The municipal poll results provide scant evidence to support this theory. The AKP's share of the vote was up six points on 2009, at around 45%, while the main opposition trailed with around 29%. On the other hand, the AKP total was 5% down on the last general election, when it polled 50% of all votes. Some voters, at least, may have turned against their prime minister.  
However, this is from a source who knows the country well:
As many of you know, yesterday probably the largest electoral fraud in Turkey since 1946 was discovered in Ankara. The method (writing fake numbers into the computer system that didn't tally with the ballot box counts) were used for hundreds of ballot boxes (the CHP say 70,000 of their votes were not counted or transferred to other parties) seen to have been used in a number of other Turkish cities as well. Once the fraud was discovered, well over a thousand volunteers went out to follow the physical paper trail and there were protests in front of the Supreme Electoral Council (where the fraud had taken place) and in front of polling stations in CHP areas where they are still refusing to count the votes.
The problem: the Supreme Electoral Council was both responsible for the fraud (Efkan Âlâ, the Interior Minister, himself stopped vote counting in CHP areas between 2-5am, apparently in order to allow it to happen) AND it is the body which handles appeals. So it may be that there is no justice, even if the fraud is documented down to the minutest detail (on the Twitter hashtag ‪#‎TutanakNO‬ you can see photographs of almost every ballot box total, and you can compare them online to the Supreme Electoral Council results, if you want to check for yourself).
It seems like the blow to democracy that Tisdall fears has already happened.


See here for an account of the protests

1 comment:

Anton Deque said...

How long ago was it that Turkey was on the brink of gaining EU membership? Ten, perhaps as few as five years? Utterly impossible today.