News / Europe

Opposition Cries Foul in Turkey During Election Protests

Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse protesters outside the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) in Ankara, April 1, 2014.
Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse protesters outside the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) in Ankara, April 1, 2014.
Reuters
Riot police fired water cannon in Ankara on Tuesday to disperse thousands of Turks demanding a partial recount in national polls that saw Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party sweep the electoral map.

The Islamist-rooted AK Party kept control of the two biggest cities, the financial center Istanbul and the capital Ankara, and increased its share of the national vote in Sunday's municipal elections despite a corruption scandal dogging Erdogan's government.

The opposition said it would contest some of the results.

The crowd, calling for a recount of the Ankara result which was particularly close, gathered in front of the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) chanting “Thief Tayyip!” and “YSK, the people are with you!” before the riot police moved in.

No official results have yet been announced, but the tally published by Turkish media put the AK Party at about 44 percent of the nationwide vote, with 26 percent to 28 percent for the opposition CHP.

The election in NATO's only predominantly Muslim state took place amid a fierce power struggle between Erdogan and U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of pursuing a dirty campaign of anonymous postings of audio recordings that implicate the prime minister in graft.

Erdogan denies corruption, just as Gulen denies any role in the recordings obtained from secret government communications.

Opposition supporters, many of them students who answered calls on social media, packed the basement of the main opposition CHP headquarters, working shifts through the night as they searched results sheets for signs of fraud.

“Whatever the election results are, it will unfortunately go down in the history of our democracy as a dubious election,” the CHP's defeated mayoral candidate in Istanbul, Mustafa Sarigul, told a news conference. “The theft of a single vote is a black mark for democracy.”

Erdogan, flanked by his family, gave a victory speech to thousands of cheering supporters on Sunday from the balcony of the AKP headquarters as fireworks lit the midnight sky.

The result was a bitter disappointment for the CHP, despite the rise in its share of the national vote. The party failed to shrug off its image as a bastion of the secularist elite, aloof from the realities of life for the majority in this socially conservative nation of 77 million people.

The CHP is challenging the result in Ankara and in the southern coastal city of Antalya, traditionally a CHP stronghold that fell to the AKP.

Sarigul also called for a recount in Istanbul, while the CHP's Ankara mayoral candidate, Mansur Yavas, said his party would go to the constitutional court if necessary.

Clashes in the Southeast

Despite a turbulent political past, previous elections in Turkey have been largely seen as free and fair.

The vote in southeastern Turkey, where a ceasefire has been holding since last year as part of an effort to end a three-decade insurgency by Kurdish militants, was marred by isolated violence. The pro-Kurdish BDP extended its control of provinces in the region, according to unofficial results.

Eight people were killed in two separate shoot-outs in villages in the southeastern provinces of Hatay and Sanliurfa near the Syrian border on the day of the vote itself during clashes between supporters of rival candidates for local office.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters outside local government offices in the southeastern district of Ceylanpinar near the Syrian border on Tuesday after results there showed an AKP victory, security sources said.

The clashes were sparked by rumors of fraud, including the burning of ballot slips, according to Hurriyet newspaper. The pro-Kurdish BDP party was challenging the result.

The newspaper meanwhile said ballots stamped with votes for the CHP and the nationalist MHP party had been found in rubbish bags at six schools in a district won by the AKP in the otherwise MHP-dominated southern province of Osmaniye.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs