Turkey’s Elections: 8 Deaths, Widespread Voter Fraud, and Erdogan Declares War on Syria

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8 people have died and 27 wounded in clashes during Turkey’s local elections yesterday. Even though the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not running in the election, the local elections are widely seen as a vote for or against Prime Minister Erdogan. Voters in Turkey were able to vote for local mayors, city councilors, and muhtars(non-partisan local officials). Erdogan has faced strong opposition since the start of the Gezi park protests that started last year in May. Once widely popular and seen as a moderate, attitudes are shifting in Turkey as Erdogan is now viewed by many as an authoritarian ruler especially after the violent crackdown on protests, internet censorship, and attacks on basic human rights.
Video of injuries from clashes during Turkey’s election on Sunday.

During the Gezi park protests, people used twitter to coordinate and report news. In June of 2013, 26 people were arrested for posting about protests on twitter and criticizing the government. Erdogan’s Minister of Communications, Yildirim, told twitter to comply with requests for information or face an “Ottoman slap”. The Yildirim, the Minister of Communciations, did note that facebook was complying with Turkish government requests! Yildirim said, “For [a]long time, Facebook cooperates with Turkish authorities smoothly. They have a unit here. We have no problem with them but Twitter can also do the same thing. Otherwise, we can’t continue like this.” Twitter complied with at least 2 of the 3 court orders from Turkey after claiming that the content violated Twitter’s own rules. Twitter refused to shut down one account over concerns about political censorship. Yildirim and his son got a court order against one twitter user for libel and demanded that the account be shut down. Twitter partially complied by geo-blocking the account in question, but Erdogan decided to shut down Twitter’s entire service to Turkish internet users. In reponse, the US State Department called the Twitter ban a “21st century book burning”. Once, Erdogan was seen as a moderate who could help Turkey join the European Union. Now, Erdogan continues to lose support in Turkey and abroad as well. It is very odd that the US State Department would criticize Erdogan considering that the US government continues to ship massive amounts of American-made teargas to Turkey and recently allowed an American supplier to start selling tasers to the Turkish government.

Right after Erdogan ordered Twitter to be banned from Turkey, he also ordered for Youtube to be banned as well. Recently, phone calls were leaked on Youtube that showed Erdogan, his family, and officials in his adminstration are involved in corruption. A few days ago, more phone calls were leaked on Youtube which involved members of Erdogan’s administration. The government officials discussed a plot to create a fake attack against the Turkish military and blame the attack on the Syrian military (Assad-aligned). This attack was supposed to provide the justification for Turkey to declare war on Syria. Erdogan essentially confirmed that the audio tape was real when he stated, “They even leaked a national security meeting,” and “This is villainous, this is dishonesty … Who are you serving by doing audio surveillance of such an important meeting?” It is important to note that just over a week ago, Erdogan ordered a Syrian (Assad-aligned) fighter jet to be shot down and claimed that it had entered Turkish airspace. During his speech last night, Erdogan said, “Suriye’yle savaş halindeyiz” which translates as, “We are at war with Syria.”

A Turkish news agency, Anadolu Agency, posted the early election results on their website. Only there was one little problem: the election had not happened yet. The episode happened two days before the actual elections were to start and Anadolu Agency later posted that it was just a “test”. The fake early election results showed Erdogan’s AKP party winning by an unrealistic 70%+ landslide.

Given Erdogan’s history of cracking down on political dissent, people set up a nonpartisan campaign called “Oy ve Otesi”. The goal of Oy ve Otesi was to get 33,000 people to volunteer and train to be poll workers and elections monitors. The hope was that poll workers and election monitors could help insure a fair election. Sadly, the elections on Sunday were not anything that could be considered “fair”. Revolution News, Ankara Resistance Post, Phaselis İnisiyatifi, and Occupy İzmir created a crowdmap where anyone could submit reports of election fraud or voter intimidation by SMS, email, twitter, iPhone/Android apps, and through the website http://2014secim.crowdmap.com/. All reports for the crowdmap are available here: link. There is also a Tumblr account where people have uploaded pictures, video, and other proof of election fraud that took place. http://hilelisecim2014.tumblr.com/

The reports started early in the day; elections monitors and journalists were refused access to polling stations across the country. If someone makes a mistake on the ballot, it is permitted in the election regulations that the mistake ballot is burned and a person to receive a new ballot. Soon though, many pictures appeared on twitter showing burned and trashed ballots that were almost exclusively for opposition parties. The number of burnt ballots discovered in the trash did not match the official number for mistake ballots at many polling stations. Soon, there reports that riot police were raiding ballot counting centers in several cities. Then, many ballot counting centers went dark. The government shut off the electricity in more than 40 cities around Turkey, especially in heavily contested areas where opposition parties might win elections. People continued to count the votes by candlelight. In several cities, people were denied entry to observe the vote counting, but continued to stand out in cold for hours as it continued to snow. There were reports that riot police and AKP supporters surrounded several vote counting centers, refusing to let any election monitors in.

Perhaps most damning of all is a video that is currently circulating online. It shows a woman who was a poll worker, but admitted to using empty ballots and making AKP ballots out of them to put in the ballot box. In other words, she was stuffing the ballot box with fake AKP votes.

People tried to observe the elections, but were beaten by police.

Police raid on a vote counting center.

Waiting in the snow for a recount.

Riot police surround vote counting center in Ankara.

Police prevent people from observing the vote counting.

BDP (an opposition party) in Sirnak alledges AKP was buying votes.

Vote counting center in Gazi neighborhood of Istanbul was set on fire.

 

 

Counting the vote by candlelight.

Graphic showing power outages in black.

Many pictures were posted online showing that the election results at the local voting centers were not reported correctly.

Antalya – picture circulated online alledged to show a man stealing election ballots as police do nothing. Ordinary people had to step in to stop it.

During the midnight election count and recounts, many people needed sleep. In the end, this maybe the only way citizens can protect the vote: to hold the ballots in your arms as you sleep to make sure they do not walk away.

Update
RIGHT NOW IN ANKARA!

People are trying to defend democracy against election fraud! People of Ankara are waiting in front of Supreme Election Board to protest the discrepancies between records, also prevent potential thievery of the votes. There is a 39.000 vote gap of CHP candidate between the ballot records and official records of the SEB, and according to the unofficial results AKP candidate seems to be 26.000 votes ahead. More than 300.000 votes, mostly pro-CHP districts, haven’t been logged in yet. An army of volunteers are working in CHP centers to access and compare the ballot records.

Only one of the cheatings: 253 CHP votes were logged in as 2, logging that vote to another party:

People are chanting “Thief Tayyip Erdoğan” in front of Supreme Election Board in Ankara!

Image Caption: CHP (an opposition party) ballots burnt and discovered in the trash.

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Proof of frauds in photos, docs, videos etc:
http://hilelisecim2014.tumblr.com/

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Jennifer Baker is the founder and editor of Revolution News - Contact us with inquiries, tips, corrections at - revnewsmedia@gmail.com