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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More