Clashes, Fraud Rumors as Erdogan’s Ruling Party Takes Turkish Election

With 95 percent of the vote in, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) appear to have solidified their control of the nation’s Parliament, with significant losses for Kurd-friendly leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that the AKP received nearly 50 percent of the vote, while the CHP stayed steady at 25 percent and the HDP fell to 10.4 percent. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will also remain present in Parliament with 12.05 percent of the vote, rounding out the total number of parties in the legislature. Hurriyet warns that Turkey’s largest cities have yet to complete their counts, and “results could still change significantly.”

Anadolu Agency, a state-run media outlet, reports similar numbers.

Parties need at least 10 percent of the vote to win representation in Parliament. Last June, the HDP reached that threshold for the first time, receiving 12 percent of the vote and being largely blamed for the AKP’s inability to win a majority of the votes, forcing it to choose between building a coalition government with another party or staging another election. After failing to build a coalition government with the MHP, the AKP scheduled an election for November 1.

The drop in votes for the HDP, threatening to eliminate them from Parliament entirely, triggered clashes in the Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir, where the party has garnered much of its support. Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons against protesters in the city following the gradual release of election numbers, which eventually revealed the AKP’s projected return to power. The clashes appeared to begin in front of the HDP’s Diyarbakir office.

The HDP, whose leadership has claimed they were the targets of up to 400 attacks in the span of two days in September, mostly by AKP supporters, canceled public rallies for their candidates out of safety concerns. Candidates, the AFP reports, resorted to door-to-door campaign to get their message out without congregating supporters and potentially creating a target for terrorists. The deadliest terrorist attack in post-Ottoman Turkish history, the October 10 Ankara suicide attacks, targeted leftist Kurds and HDP supporters.

Anadolu Agency reports that HDP supporters in Diyarbakir had congregated near polling station to intimidate voters out of voting for the AKP. The HDP supporters were allegedly using “psychological pressure,” according to Turkish police. Police also reportedly arrested at least one polling clerk for “trying to suppress the will of the voters.”

Supporters of multiple opposition parties, meanwhile, have accused the AKP of being behind attempts to manipulate the election results. A Twitter account run by the anonymous “Ankara insider” Fuat Avni tweeted on Sunday that the AKP had organized multiple meetings with election officials to ensure the AKP’s victory on Sunday. Avni predicted that the AKP would ultimately received 55 percent of the vote, as designated by AKP officials orchestrating the fraud.

Fuat Avni has previously claimed that the bombing of a group of Kurdish humanitarian workers in the border town of Suruç in July was a “false flag” operation designed to give the AKP an excuse to bomb the Marxist terror group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria and Iraq. Despite being an anonymous account, the Turkish-language Fuat Avni account boasts more than two million followers and has been quoted in major Turkish newspapers.

In addition to the Fuat Avni rumors, a chief adviser to the CHP told Turkish newspaper Zaman that the party is concerned that more than 600,000 names disappeared from the voter registry between the June and Novemer elections, and more than 400,000 have been registered as new voters. There is no information regarding the party affiliation of either group, but the CHP remains concerned these changes could affect their turnout.


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