Tag: Erdogan

turkiye-election-presidential- parliamentary
Council to EuropeHuman Rights DefendersReports

Letter to European authorities about Turkey elections

We submitted our letter to the European authorities expressing our concerns about the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey.

The letter expresses our concerns about the elections to be held on May 14, 2023. It has been sent to the following authorities:
Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
Council for Democratic Elections of the Venice Commission.

An election with unprecedented importance is forthcoming in Turkey. The next Turkish presidential and parliamentary election will take place on 14 May 2023. Besides the debate about whether Erdogan can be a candidate under the Turkish constitution[1], numerous worrying allegations about the credibility of the elections are frequently being raised in these last days, with less than 50 days before the elections.

As a matter of fact, the German government believes that it is difficult to speak of a fair and free electoral environment in Turkey because of the anti-democratic steps taken in the run-up to the elections[2]. In recent years, Erdoğan has gained unprecedented control over Turkey’s institutions, from the courts to the central bank, and has repeatedly used those powers to manipulate the electoral system in his favour[3]. In March 2022, Erdogan changed the country’s electoral laws in a way that could politicize the oversight of vote counts[4]. Furthermore, all current members of the Supreme Electoral Board were appointed by Erdogan himself[5]. Remembering the fact that the Supreme Electoral Board cancelled the 2019 mayoral election for Istanbul at the request of the ruling AKP, makes Erdogan’s influence over the board more worrying.

Frank Schwabe, head of the PACE Election Observation Mission to Turkey, does not believe that Turkey can ensure democratic environment during the election period[6]. He emphasized the recent reports of the different authorities in the Council of Europe revealing that Turkey is sliding away from the values of a democratic society.

Fraud allegations in Turkish elections are not new at all. In the last elections, the referendum in 2017 and the general election in 2018, allegations of voting fraud in polling stations were brought to the fore by many national and international organizations that were actively monitoring the elections. Opposition parties and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the results of the referendum because of the validation of 1.5–2.5 million unstamped ballots by the Supreme Election Board[7]. In addition to legalizing unstamped ballots, the relocation of ballot boxes could also enable the AKP to manipulate results to its benefit—together with other means such as reconfiguring the ethnic makeup of some predominately Kurdish southeastern regions and the use of intimidation. As highlighted in the report of the International Crisis Group, these ballot box relocations can potentially discourage voters who may be reluctant to travel to a neighbouring village associated with a rival Kurdish clan[8]. A. Hunko, German parliamentarian, who was in the election observation mission of the Council of Europe, affirmed that he had been detained by the police in southeastern Turkey and he had never experienced this situation in his previous 15 such missions across the world[9]. He clearly said that the referendum in 2017 was not a free or a fair election. The forensic analysis demonstrates the veracity of allegations on the systematic and highly significant statistical support for the presence of both ballot stuffing and voter rigging[10].

Cevheri Guven, an exiled journalist in Germany, likewise claims that 2,5 million ballots without stamps had been added and admitted in the last presidential election. Above all, he continues to say that there is a strong probability that Erdogan can do the same thing in this election. In his YouTube video, which reached 1 million views in 2 days, He explains in detail how the ballots would be stolen during the elections[11].

Overall, Human Rights Solidarity calls on the relevant authorities of the Council of Europe to take the necessary measures to ensure that the next presidential and parliamentary elections take place in accordance with democratic standards. 

Sources: 

[1] Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution clearly affirms that “…The term of office of the President is five years. A person may be elected President of the Republic at most twice.”. Erdogan have been already elected twice. Hence, whether he can be candidate is very questionable. Academics in constitutional law insist that he cannot be candidate under the constitution.  (Anayasa hukukçuları: Erdoğan yeniden aday olamaz – DW – 19.01.2023)

[2] Berlin: Türkiye’deki seçim sürecinde adil bir ortam yok – DW – 22.03.2023

[3] Defeating Erdoğan: Turkey’s opposition searches for a champion | Financial Times (ft.com), 4 mai 2022

[4] Defeating Erdoğan: Turkey’s opposition searches for a champion | Financial Times (ft.com), 4 mai 2022

[5] (54) ERDOĞAN’IN KOZU: AHMET YENER ÇETESİ – YouTube

[6] Berlin: Türkiye’deki seçim sürecinde adil bir ortam yok – DW – 22.03.2023

[7] OSCE/ODIHR Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw, 22 June 2017, available at https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/6/2/324816.pdf

[8] https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/76656 , 21 June 2018

[9] Videos Fuel Charges of Fraud in Erdogan’s Win in Turkey Referendum – The New York Times (nytimes.com), 18 April 2017

[10] Klimek P, Jiménez R, Hidalgo M, Hinteregger A, Thurner S (2018) Forensic analysis of Turkish elections in 2017–2018. PLOS ONE 13(10): e0204975. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204975

[11] (61) ERDOĞAN SEÇİMİ BÖYLE ÇALACAK: BÜYÜK İFŞA – YouTube

orhan-inandi-london-hrs
EventsIndependent Project

Free Orhan Inandi Protests

DATE: 21 March 2021 &

COMMITTEE: Independent project

PROTEST SPEECH:

Dear Friends!

I welcome you all in the name of Human Rights Solidarity.

Today we are in solidarity with victims of enforced disappearances all over the world.

Today we are here for people who are missing, or are kidnapped.

The Erdogan Regime became the prime perpetrator of enforced disappearances in the world.

We are here today for Yusuf Bilge Tunç who is missing for 673 days!

Where is Yusuf Bilge Tunc?

We are here today for Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit who is missing for 164 days!

We join his daughter to shout: Where is Nursena’s father?

Where is Huseyin Galip?

We are here today for people kidnapped from outside Turkey and are being tortured or tormented in Turkey’s notorious prisons.

We are here today for Selahaddin Gulen.

Selahaddin was kidnapped from Nairobi, Kenya, where he was working as a teacher.

He was forcefully separated from his wife, from his family, from his students.

It is already a month he was brought into Turkey.

We are hearing horrible stories of beating, and torturing.

He was forced to sign witness statements he didn’t write.

We are here today for Orhan Inandi.

Orhan was the general director of Sapat Schools in Kyrgyzstan.

Orhan Inandi has been working in Kyrgyzstan since 1995. He is a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. He dedicated his life to education. He has nothing to do with politics.

Orhan Inandi is recipient of several state awards for his contribution to the reform and development of the Kyrgyz education system.

He has been missing for the last 10 days.

We are afraid that he will meet the same fate with Selehaddin.

We are afraid that he will be flied into Turkey… where he will be tortured…

For the time being, we still have hopes that he is in Kyrgyzstan.

And we are here to call to the Turkish and Kyrgyz authorities alike: Let Orhan Free!

Set him free!

Set him free!

Dear Friends!

Turkey has always been infamous for enforced disappearances.

About 17 thousand Kurds have gone missing during the 40 years long unrest in the South East of Turkey.

You would know the Saturday Mothers, who have been asking for the last 20 years: Where is my son? Where is my daughter?

Some of the Saturday Mothers died while still searching for their children.

We know that!

But something crucial happened since the coup attempt of 2016.

Now the Turkish intelligence agency is proudly declaring that it is kidnapping people.

Turkish embassies are publicly involved in kidnapping operations.

In Kosovo, the six Turkish teachers kidnapped were first brought to the Turkish embassy and the embassy distributed their photographs later on.

The same happened in Moldovo.

And now, we are hearing claims that Orhan Inandi is being kept as captive at the Turkish embassy in Bishkek.

This is in complete defiance of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

This means Turkey is using diplomatic immunity for criminal activity.

This is unacceptable!

This is unacceptable for the victims!

This is unacceptable for the whole world!

This is why we are here today.

We call Turkey to stop silencing the critics of the regime in Ankara.

We call Turkey to stop using its diplomatic missions for criminal activity.

We call Turkey to release Orhan Inandi now! And release all information they have about Orhan and other missing persons immediately!

Dear Friends!

We are here today not because we hate Turkey, or because we want to harm the interests of Turkey.

No!

We are here today because we think the mindset that is ruling over Turkey today is a mafia mindset.

This mindset does not recognize rule of law. This mindset does not honour the conventions Turkey has ratified.

This mindset is dangerous for Turkey and for its people.

The current regime in Turkey has been involved in human piracy.

The current regime in Turkey has been working with mafia, from Venezuela to Colombia.

The current regime in Turkey has been working with paid mercenaries, from Syria to Libya.

By was of protesting here, we do no harm to Turkey’s future.

The real harm, the real danger for Turkey’s future is this untranationalist – mafia coalition that is ruling over Turkey.

Dear Friends,

The President of Kyrgyzstan is in Turkey today.

Yesterday he was hosted by the President of Turkey.

Using this opportunity I want to say a few words to the Kyrgyz statesmen:

We know that you are under immense pressure from Turkey.

We know that Ankara is blackmailing you with all kinds of threats about economic sanctions and cancellation of all deals between the two countries.

We are sure, you are also thinking: Is it worth destroying a working international relationship for the sake of one person? Is it worth doing this just for a few schools?

We are sure, because this is how interest based politics works.

We don’t want Kyrgyzstan to freeze relations with Turkey. We are proud of the friendly relations between the two countries and the peoples of the two countries.

But rest assured!

This mindset ruling over Turkey is a temporary one.

In fact, it became even more aggressive recently, because it also knows that it is already disintegrating.

Don’t invest in temporary realities!

Invest in the future of Turkey.

Invest in the future of Kyrgyzstan.

Invest in education as Orhan Inandi invested his whole life.

Invest in rule of law. Invest in human rights.

Dear Friends,

I want to say a few words to the so-called human rights organizations of the world.

From the moment we realized Orhan has gone missing, we contacted international human rights organizations… begging them to start an emergency appeal… to call for immediate action…

Here is what we understand from what they say to us: They are afraid that if they stood with us, their representatives in Turkey will be harmed.

This is how dictatorships sustain their policies of persecution.

Human rights advocates are great people, precisely because they take the risk of being harmed, for the rights of the others.

Is it too risky to stand with the victim?

With whom else you can stand, if you are a human rights defender?

We would love to be participating in a protest organized by either one of these human rights organizations. But none is here!

That is a shameful failure on their behalf…

Human Rights Watch and Freedom House have publicised yesterday about their concerns for Orhan Inandi’s fate.

We thank for their efforts also. But more could have been done, at an earlier stage.

Dear Friends,

I thank you all for the time, and energy you spared for the victims of enforced disappearances. Thank you…