The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) has raised allegations of election fraud that potentially affected over 4 million votes cast in Turkey’s recent presidential and parliamentary elections, citing irregularities that manifested as statistical anomalies and discrepancies in the election results, local media reported on Wednesday.
The elections, held on May 14, saw incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vying for re-election against his main rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). With neither candidate securing the required 50 percent plus one additional vote in the first round, election officials have announced a runoff to be held on May 28. Unofficial results put Erdoğan at 49.51 percent of the vote, narrowly missing the mark, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.88 percent.
Meanwhile, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its electoral alliance secured a majority in the parliamentary elections, winning 321 out of 600 seats. The composition of parliament could change when the official results are announced since some seats are reportedly changing hands due to recounts after objections.
TİP Deputy Chairman Doğan Ergün said on Wednesday during a press briefing at the party’s provincial office in İstanbul, citing the party’s lawyers and software and data analysts, that they found some 4.2 million votes, cast in nearly 20,000 ballot boxes, to be “questionable.”
Genel Başkan Yardımcımız Doğan Ergün, 14 Mayıs seçimleri sürecindeki şaibelere ve tutarsızlıklara ilişkin basın toplantısı düzenliyor. https://t.co/Kyde9x6FjP
— Türkiye İşçi Partisi (@tipgenelmerkez) May 17, 2023
Ergün said that in the May 14 elections, there were close to 20,000 ballot boxes – with approximately 4.2 million votes – where the voter turnout exceeded 95 percent, adding that that would be an indicator of an anomaly in any place around the world, except for authoritarian states.
“Having a voter turnout around 95 percent or above in fair and democratic elections … implies that within that electoral district, no one fell ill, no one died, in other words, nobody experienced any significant issues from the time the voter lists were drawn up until the day of the elections. Statistically, this is impossible,” he added.
Ergün further stated that there were 4,841 ballot boxes, accounting for a total of 422,000 votes, where the reported voter turnout was 100 percent or higher. He explained that this situation could only be possible due to election fraud committed by the parties in the ruling AKP’s electoral alliance, including tactics such as manipulating uncast or opposition party votes in their favor and having government employees and others cast multiple votes for themselves.
According to Ergün, another election result that raised suspicions of irregularity was the absence of any votes cast for the main opposition’s Nation Alliance, a bloc of six parties, in 154 ballot boxes where the reported voter turnout was 100 percent or higher.
He said that although Erdoğan and his party emerged as the most successful participants of the election, TİP observed that the frauds were also specifically carried out to favor the AKP’s far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The party unexpectedly received over 10 percent of the vote in the May 14 parliamentary elections, according to the unofficial results, although its vote share was projected to be between 6 and 8 percent in the latest polls prior to the election.
Ergün also noted that the consistent vote percentage of 5.2 to 5.3 percent for presidential candidate Sinan Oğan, as reported by the state-run Anadolu news agency, defied explanation by statistical science.
According to Ergün, TİP is submitting the necessary objections in the provinces of İstanbul, İzmir and Antalya, where the party narrowly missed winning a seat in parliament. He further said a considerable number of objections raised at more than 420 ballot boxes have been rejected by the district election boards and that it is still premature to determine whether they will secure additional seats beyond their current four.
Referring to the runoff, Ergün said: “Now, we address all opposition parties and our entire nation. … If we can encourage our citizens who didn’t go to the ballot boxes [on May 14] to participate [in the runoff], if we can convince those who voted for Tayyip Erdoğan [to support Kılıçdaroğlu instead], and if we can prevent this mass-scale theft [of votes], we see there is [no election] we can’t win.”
Similar allegations of election fraud were also recently raised by jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in addition to many other opposition figures and social media users. According to critics, the alleged irregularities were systematic and large enough to influence the election in favor of the AKP and Erdoğan.