Turkish Interior Minister Soylu targets volunteer organization of election observers

Turkish Interior Minister Soylu has targeted Oy ve Ötesi, a volunteer organization of election monitoring, claiming that their observers “terrorize” the vote counting and that they cannot legally monitor the ballot boxes.

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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted Oy ve Ötesi (Vote and Beyond), a volunteer organization of ballot box observers and election monitoring.

“Political parties may have representatives and observers at the ballot boxes. An association called Oy ve Ötesi cannot exist there. It's so clear and precise. They get in there and they terrorize (the vote counting), they try to put pressure. This should not be allowed,” Soylu said while visiting Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa district as part of the election campaign, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“It is against the electoral law for them to enter (the class) and put pressure on the people who vote in the ballot boxes. They put pressure on the police and say, 'We will go with these ballot boxes'. You are (pro-Gezi protests), we know you. You are there to create chaos. The Swedish state funds this association. Why? To create chaos in the election in Turkey. It's so clear and precise,” Soylu claimed.

“I express it again to the ballot box officials. It was wrong to take them into classes last and to give them observer status. This is extremely wrong. They harassed the voters in many places, they started fights in many places,” he added.

Oy ve Ötesi was established in 2013 to monitor election security. They gained importance in the last two elections as they have tried to appoint an observer to every ballot box across Turkey in the face of concerns regarding the election security under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.