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State-run agency: Clients can complain to prosecutor if it halts election data flow

Anadolu news agency headquarters

Anadolu news agency headquarters

Officials from Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency have said its clients can file criminal complaints against the agency if it halts the flow of data on the night of critical elections on May 14, the Sözcü daily reported.

The agency, a major source of election data that tabulates the vote counts and distributes that information to the media, received widespread criticism and was accused of acting in favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) when it failed to update election data for hours on the number of votes counted on the night of local elections held on March 31, 2019.

Opposition parties have already voiced concerns about election security, with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition party and the joint presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of parties saying that he trusts neither the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) nor Anadolu to ensure election security.

Election security has been a significant concern in Turkey, with various issues arising during past elections. One of the main concerns involves the potential political interference in the operations of the YSK or Anadolu, which could affect the fairness and transparency of elections as well as the announcement of results.

Anadolu’s general manager Serdar Karagöz and deputy general manager Yahya Bostan told Sözcü that there would be no disruptions in the services of Anadolu on election night.

When asked whether there would be a halt of the election data, Karagöz said the news agency has taken every possible measure against cyber attacks and that the election data would be shared with their clients that night without any disruptions.

“If there is the slightest disruption in our services, those receiving our services can file complaints against us with the prosecutor’s office,” said Karagöz.

In the 2019 local elections Anadolu stopped updating the results of the İstanbul mayoral election for 13 hours, finally announcing main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu as the winner of the race against the AKP candidate.

İmamoğlu ended the years-long AKP rule in İstanbul when he defeated the AKP’s mayoral candidate twice in the local elections of 2019. He won a rerun election by a larger margin than the first, which had been canceled due to supposed irregularities.

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