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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid