1st April 2014 – ore than two days have passed since the end of the March 30 elections, but tension over counting and the victors remains latent, with anger over alleged electoral fraud in Ankara spreading to points around the country. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appealed to district election boards of Ankaraover irregularities in the local mayoral elections in which the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) incumbent won a narrow victory.
“We will not let any votes of the people of Ankara be wasted. We’ll follow the votes given for us until the end,” Mansur Yavaş, the CHP candidate for Ankara mayor, said in a press conference Apr. 1 noting that his party did not believe the election was fair. Apart from Ankara, the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) appealed the votes in three provinces, Iğdır, Kastamonu and Kütahya, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) appealed for a recount of votes in Istanbul’s Kartal district. The main opposition party also demanded a recount in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.
In Ankara, some votes given to the CHP were included in the records of the ballot boxes of other parties, while some CHP votes were not recorded at ballot boxes, Mansur said, adding that around 12,000 ballot boxes were being examined one by one with the help of at least 500 600 young volunteers.
1st April 2014 – Used ballots, marked for the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have been found in the garbage of six schools used as polling stations in the southern province of Osmaniye. City residents reported the incident to the police when they found the used ballots in the trash in Osmaniye’s Düziçi district. According to reports, the schools where the ballots were found are the Uzunbanı Elementary School, Atatürk High School, Atatürk Elementary School, Cumhuriyet High School, Cumhuriyet Elementary School and ÇEAŞ Anatolian High School. It was claimed that the ballots were planned to be burned. Candidates from the CHP and MHP have filed an official complaint to the Public Prosecutors’ Office and have appealed to the Supreme Election Council (YSK). The Düziçi Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident. The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Ökkeş Namlı won in the Düziçi district with 10,294 votes. The CHP’s Alper Öner received 9,854 votes, while the MHP’s Muhammet Kaya received 5,179 votes.
28th March 2014 – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan really doesn’t like social media. Days before the municipal elections, the Turkish strongman has blocked Twitter and banned YouTube after corruption allegations surfaced on the two social media platforms. Here are some of Erdoğan’s best quotes about social media — from the “scourge” that is Twitter, to the case of the “smeared housewife.”
27th March 2014 – Turkey has moved to block access to YouTube, a day after a court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed. The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an “administrative measure” against the site but another report suggests that talks are under way. Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site. Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.
It relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey’s intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation. Mr Erdogan, who faces important local elections on Sunday, accuses social media of spreading misinformation and suggested earlier that bans could be applied to both YouTube and Facebook. At a rally this week, Mr Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.” On Wednesday, a court in the capital, Ankara, ordered the TIB to lift its ban on Twitter, but it could be weeks before the order takes effect. Twitter itself has filed a challenge to the access ban. It said it was concerned about a court order to suspend an account which accused a former minister of corruption.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) took full advantage of state and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality assets for its election rally in Istanbul on Sunday, as it did for previous rallies, violating campaign rules in place for the March 30 local elections and drawing the ire of opposition parties. The opposition believes that the AK Party not only “steals state resources” to finance its crowded rallies, but also engages in unfair competition against its political rivals. “We are faced with an [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who has linked his future to protecting his [political] power. He gathers thousands of people at his election rallies to manipulate perception [to create the image that he is still very powerful], and he is using state resources to do this,” said Ruhsar Demirel, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy chairwoman, speaking to Today’s Zaman. In Istanbul on March 23, the municipality mobilized all means at its disposal for the AK Party rally. Dozens of municipality buses were used to carry party supporters to the rally area. The buses, decorated with AK Party flags, had signs indicating that they were “on duty” for the AK Party rally. They refused to accept other passengers and party supporters were not asked to pay the fare for their transport to the rally at Yenikapı Square. City ferries and high-speed ferries also carried thousands of AK Party supporters to the rally area free of charge. Party supporters were also offered free transport on Marmaray, the undersea commuter train line that connects İstanbul’s Asian side to the European side. Some of the entry gates at Marmaray stations were reserved for AK Party supporters going to the rally and announcements were made for several hours that said, “Passengers attending the [AK Party] rally may use these gates at no charge.” The crowd was so large that some supporters who were unable to get on Marmaray trains were asked by security guards to use boats and high-speed ferries. News sources reported that tension erupted between some passengers and security guards when some who wanted to use Marmaray on Sunday but did not plan to attend the AK Party rally were asked to pay a fare. Complaints were made and questions were asked about why AK Party supporters were permitted to benefit from state resources supported with the taxes paid by millions of people. Ayşe Fındık told the Cihan news agency that the allocation of state and municipality resources for the AK Party rally created havoc in Istanbul. “People were asked to pay to use Marmaray yesterday, but it is free of charge today. Buses are not operating because they are carrying [AK] party supporters to the rally. We walked here [Marmaray] from Eminönü [because buses were not running]. This is a sin. This is illegal. They may hold rallies, but they do not have the right to inconvenience people like this. I am trying to get home from work,” she said. People who attended the AK Party rally were also offered transportation free of charge after the rally. For the complete article: http://en.cihan.com.tr/news/AK-Party-uses-state-municipality-resources-for-Istanbul-rally_5463-CHMTM4NTQ2My8xMDA1;+2uoi
20th March 2014 – (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday repeated his threat to close down social media platforms including Twitter in Turkey and said he did not care about the potential backlash from the international community.
“We will wipe out all of these,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally in the northwestern province of Bursa.
“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said.