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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid