News / Middle East

Turkey Vote Results Draw Scrutiny

FILE - Supporters of Republican People's Party (CHP) shout anti-government slogans outside the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) in Ankara, April 1, 2014.
FILE - Supporters of Republican People's Party (CHP) shout anti-government slogans outside the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) in Ankara, April 1, 2014.
Dorian Jones
The recent elections in Turkey are under increased scrutiny, with results being challenged across the country not only by political parties, but also, for the first time, by non-partisan groups and individuals.
 
Riot police using water cannon and tear gas dispersed protesters calling for an investigation into the local election results in the capital Ankara.

Along with opposition parties, non-partisan pressure groups and individuals are contesting the fairness of some of the races.

Soli Ozel, a political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Haberturk, says the country is witnessing a new development - citizen empowerment.

"It's very important: people are owning up to their votes and for the first time there is this great sensitivity. Their are a lot of people who consistently bicker on the Internet, saying: 'Oh how awful these things are.' Other people are basically taking matters into their own hands; we have not seen this before," said Ozel.

Observers say there have been widespread complaints of ballots not being counted, exceptionally high turnouts - surpassing a 100 percent in certain areas - favoring the ruling party, and allegations of ballot-box stuffing.

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board, or YSK, is made up of senior judges and supervises the elections. But Kadri Gursel, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and the Al-Monitor website, says with the government giving itself greater control over the judiciary, the YSK's impartiality may be in question.

"Where the judiciary came under heavy control and pressure of the government, how we can reassure that the judiciary will safeguard the fairness of the election? I am doubtful about it," said Gursel.

Opposition parties are questioning the fairness of the YSK, after it rejected calls for a recount and investigation of the heavily-contested Ankara vote. More than 8,000 complaints were made over that vote, which the ruling AK Party won by less than 1 percent. The YSK board decision is now being appealed.

The YSK did order 15 recounts in the contested city of Agri, where the AK Party narrowly lost.  The government has dismissed accusations of interference, pointing to the fact that the electoral board ordered a recount in a city the ruling party initially won but subsequently lost.

Another point of contention is the electricity cuts that took place in during the vote count in Ankara.  Opposition parties claim the blackouts facilitated vote tampering.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz rejected such claims.

"I'm not joking, my friends. A cat entered a power distribution unit. It was the cause of the blackout in Ankara and it's not the first time this has happened. It is wrong to link it with the elections. It's wrong to cry foul play. The opposition behave like students who didn't study their lessons enough," said Yildiz.

The explanation provoked disbelief and ridicule across Turkey’s social media, with images of cats being portrayed as enemies of democracy.

But analyst Ozel worries that faith in fair elections could be under threat.

"For the moment, this is on a manageable scale.  But if we discover way beyond what could be tolerated, then the government will have sullied the only institution that we have left that we believed functioned properly, which would be the elections, throughout our voting history," he said.
 
With Turkey deeply polarized, observers say this August's presidential election, in which a Turkish president will for the first time be picked through a popular vote rather than by parliament, will be crucial. And, with Turkey facing a general election less than a year later, addressing any doubts about electoral fairness will be crucial to maintaining political stability.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mekong Bubbles from: D.C.
April 07, 2014 8:28 PM
As we noted last December, Hersh discovered the brutal jihadist mercenary group al-Nusra was behind the sarin attack, not the Syrian government. “The establishment media ignored Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s latest article indicating al-Nusra was behind sarin attacks in Syria,” we wrote after the New Yorker refused to publish his findings. “Hersh’s inability to get the story published provides further evidence revealing establishment control of the corporate media and its dictation of information to be made public.” The story, Whose Sarin?, was picked up by the London Review of Books after the author was snubbed by the New Yorker.
On Sunday, the London Review of Books posted The Red Line and the Rat Line. In the piece, Hersh points to the Turkish government as the culprit behind the sarin attack allegedly killing anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand people.
As the Syrian military continued to defeat the mercenary paramilitaries supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and systematically rolled back their gains, the Obama administration vacillated on supporting the effort to unseat al-Assad. The floundering effort, according to Hersh’s sources, angered Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish Prime Minister who has played an instrumental role in the proxy war to topple al-Assad and change the geostrategic order in the Middle East.
“In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarized law-enforcement organization – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability,” Hersh writes. MIT and the Gendarmerie “handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,” a former intelligence official told Hersh. “Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.”
The Obama administration was aware of the Turkish effort to provide al-Nusra with WMDs and also the attempt to instigate a false flag to force Obama to back up his “red line” rhetoric with military action. U.S. intelligence analysts “sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen,” the former intelligence official told Hersh.
Seymour Hersh concludes by saying that without “a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on.”
Last week we learned that, in fact, Turkish meddling continues. A recording between MIT boss Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Gürel surfaced. The discussion centered around a plan for a false flag attack inside Syria to provide a pretext for sending Turkish troops to protect the tomb of Turkish hero Suleyman Shah. “I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey,” Fidan is heard declaring on the tape.
The establishment media has avoided the story. “The Western media has purposefully obsessed myopically over Turkey’s ban of Twitter and Facebook and leaks regarding ‘corruption,’ in an attempt to sidestep conversations revealing Turkey, a NATO member for decades, planning a false flag attack that would lead to an intentionally provoked war with neighboring Syria,” writes Tony Cartalucci.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the rest of the Mockingbird media, all taking their scripts and talking points from the globalist establishment, will continue to play disinformation games with the truth. The establishment, however, cannot avoid the inescapable fact that, short of direct military involvement in Syria, the well-trained and dedicated Syrian Army will continue to beat the mercenaries put in the field by the United States and its partners.

by: Joyce Q. Bottomburp from: USA
April 07, 2014 8:25 PM
The establishment media is underplaying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s latest peace overture. The New York Times, an unflappable and trusty propaganda venue for any number of illegal wars, from Iraq to Libya, has described the relative calm in Damascus as “deceptive,” the inevitable result of “military force, siege and starvation” imposed by the Syrian government.
Western corporate media ignores story leaving Iranian state media to report Hersh’s findings.
The Times, of course, does not include in its calculation the unreported fact much of the violence in Syria is directly attributable to murderous proxy forces funded and supported by the fossilized Gulf monarchies, Turkey and the United States.
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has faithfully served as a thorn in the side of the Bush and Obama administrations as they carried out the creative destruction agenda of the global elite, has posted a report that will, at best, be given a sidelong glance by the Times and the rest of the corporate media.
Hersh reports on the sarin gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta last year. At the time the Obama administration and a chorus of neocons stated emphatically, and without a shred of evidence, that the Syria government was responsible for the attack. In fact, the variety of sarin used in the attack, according to British intelligence, did not match that known to be in Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. After this evidence was relayed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and subsequently the Obama administration, a planned attack on Syria’s infrastructure – and, in effect, the Syrian people – was called off despite Obama’s “red line” propaganda campaign.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs