Turkey's opposition parties say ready to ensure election safety

As Turkish opposition parties are stepping up collaboration in their bid to unseat Erdoğan and his AKP at elections due by 2023, they have accelerated their preparations to ensure election safety and to prevent any possible rigging.

During the rerun of Istanbul's mayoral race in June 2019, CHP members slept in electoral centers to protect ballots against any possible rigging.

Serkan Alan / DUVAR 

Turkey's opposition parties are pushing the government to call for early elections, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been reiterating that the elections will be held in 2023 as scheduled.

Representatives of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Good (İYİ) Party and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) have told about their works on election safety to Gazete Duvar.

Onursal Adıgüzel, the CHP vice chair responsible for the party's Information and Communication Technology Affairs, said that they were preparing a list on the number of ballot boxes and the contact information of people assigned to oversee ballots and monitor the results in the 2018 and 2019 elections.

Adıgüzel said that the CHP was in close dialogue with other opposition parties, especially the newly established parties, to convey their knowledge with respect to election safety. “We have a serious knowledge accumulation since we have been following the election results, voters list since 2009. In the face of this accumulation, we have been conducting analyses to take us to the future,” he said.

Good Party is similarly conducting works to secure election safety in the upcoming elections and will make a detailed announcement on Nov. 9 with regards to the steps it will take.

Mehmet Tolga Akalın, responsible for the Good Party's Election Affairs, said their works will make sure that the party's own count of votes will reflect the official results. “With our program, we are expecting that we will announce the results of the ballot boxes with a near-100 percent accuracy. We will have such a basic claim,” Akalın said. 

He said the repeat of the Istanbul mayoral elections in 2019 has shown that there cannot be any rigging if “people, party organizations protect the ballots.”

Because there was the idea for a long time that 'They will rig the elections anyway, so there is no point in going to the ballot boxes.' And by creating this in the voters' minds, they [the government] were trying to get the advantage. But the Istanbul elections swept this away and established the voters' trust in the ballot boxes,” he said.

Turkey canceled the results of the Istanbul mayoral race that President Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost in March 2019 elections and ordered a rerun. After a narrow victory in the first round, the June 2019 elections saw a much higher level of participation, with Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu inflicting this time a humiliating defeat on Erdoğan's party.

Images at the time showed CHP members sleeping in Istanbul electoral centers to protect ballots for the recount process and to prevent any rigging. The opposition had noted that AKP officials might have meddled with ballots, citing once again irregularities.

İlknur Birol, the HDP deputy co-chair responsible for the party's Election Affairs Commission, said election safety was a matter that concerned the whole of society and that her party was conducting meetings with regards to this issue.

“We are ready. From the first day, we are conducting our preparations in a very intensive way. We have come to a point of determining the party's polling officers in all the district and provincial organizations,” she said.