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Turkish constitutional referendum 2017 - News, Update & Discussion

Deliorman

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@A.P. Richelieu , I see you are interested at how the referendum in Turkey went but did OSCE say anything about the elections that are taking place in Bulgaria in the last 25 years? Ever since I can remember (I am 24) on all elections in Bulgaria even more scandalous things happen every time, some political parties complain but yet I have never heard someone from Europe to ask for new elections or to tell they were non democratic. Compared to how voting goes in Bulgaria, Turkey is like Switzerland, believe me... Around 80% of Turks vote on most elections while in Bulgaria it's hardly ever more than 50%... Half of the population doesn't even have the will to vote because they know that the system is corrupt and that it won't change.

And If you ask me what are the more scandalous things here than in Turkey I will just give you some examples:

On last elections they opened 4 times less voting sections in Turkey even though more people are willing to vote there than in Western Europe combined. Far rights nationalists illegally blocked the borders for days so people living in Turkey can't go to their homes in Bulgaria to vote... it didn't only stop them but the whole traffic between the countries yet Bulgarian authorities did nothing to stop them. Bulgarian officials basically stopped Bulgarian citizens from casting their vote and using their democratic rights. Yet I didn't heard anyone from Brussels to say anything about it so I guess everything is democratic, huh...
On every elections you can hear about people who are made to vote for someone out of fear not to lose their jobs, about thousands of people selling their votes for 15 euros. You can hear hundreds of stories about manipulated results in hundreds of sections around Bulgaria, about bulletins being burned or dumped in the trash or about valid/invalid bulletins counted as invalid/valid. Stories about changed results in the whole section by members of the electoral commission. Like 4-5 years ago an opposition journalist revealed a scheme with 350 000 bulletins being printed so the ruling party can use them to change the vote in sections where they can freely manipulate the results.
And I can tell more and more such stories. :D
 

-SINAN-

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Another interesting detail is that only a small fraction of nationalists voted yes, this means MHP lost its voter base and wont make it in parliament in the next elections.
MHP is gone for good, the first resingment allready happened, i think a new party is on the way, Bahceli will pay his tribute for being Erdogans toy.
I have seen analysis saying that only %30 of the MHP voters voted for yes....Bahçeli is gone in the next elections, MHP is dead.
 

A.P. Richelieu

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@A.P. Richelieu , I see you are interested at how the referendum in Turkey went but did OSCE say anything about the elections that are taking place in Bulgaria in the last 25 years? Ever since I can remember (I am 24) on all elections in Bulgaria even more scandalous things happen every time, some political parties complain but yet I have never heard someone from Europe to ask for new elections or to tell they were non democratic. Compared to how voting goes in Bulgaria, Turkey is like Switzerland, believe me... Around 80% of Turks vote on most elections while in Bulgaria it's hardly ever more than 50%... Half of the population doesn't even have the will to vote because they know that the system is corrupt and that it won't change.

And If you ask me what are the more scandalous things here than in Turkey I will just give you some examples:

On last elections they opened 4 times less voting sections in Turkey even though more people are willing to vote there than in Western Europe combined. Far rights nationalists illegally blocked the borders for days so people living in Turkey can't go to their homes in Bulgaria to vote... it didn't only stop them but the whole traffic between the countries yet Bulgarian authorities did nothing to stop them. Bulgarian officials basically stopped Bulgarian citizens from casting their vote and using their democratic rights. Yet I didn't heard anyone from Brussels to say anything about it so I guess everything is democratic, huh...
On every elections you can hear about people who are made to vote for someone out of fear not to lose their jobs, about thousands of people selling their votes for 15 euros. You can hear hundreds of stories about manipulated results in hundreds of sections around Bulgaria, about bulletins being burned or dumped in the trash or about valid/invalid bulletins counted as invalid/valid. Stories about changed results in the whole section by members of the electoral commission. Like 4-5 years ago an opposition journalist revealed a scheme with 350 000 bulletins being printed so the ruling party can use them to change the vote in sections where they can freely manipulate the results.
And I can tell more and more such stories. :D
OSCE report on Bulgaria.

7 January 2015
While finding that Bulgaria’s 5 October 2014 early parliamentary elections were efficiently administered and held in a competitive environment, the final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends restoring public confidence in the electoral process by addressing the persistent issue of vote-buying and “controlled” voting.
 

Deliorman

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OSCE report on Bulgaria.

7 January 2015
While finding that Bulgaria’s 5 October 2014 early parliamentary elections were efficiently administered and held in a competitive environment, the final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends restoring public confidence in the electoral process by addressing the persistent issue of vote-buying and “controlled” voting.
Yeah, yeah... everything was great, I know. :D What did OSCE said about the other things I wrote? What about the last elections that took place last month? :enjoy:
 

Deliorman

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The issue is if they care or not, and apparently they care.

The issue is not if OSCE cares about it or not. I wasn't talking about this organization only but in general. I repeat again- I wrote about much more things than buying votes and controlled voting. I wrote about things that are happening in here on all elections from decades which are scandalous yet you can't hear about them in western medias... you can't hear about them here too TBH, maybe because nobody really cares about what happens in Europe's backyard anyways. You can't hear ministers, political figures and famous people talking on every television channel around Europe, giving interviews about how democracy in Bulgaria is being destroyed and etc. Our corrupt politicians win elections by all means necessary, they stay loyal to Western Europe because of the billions they get for free from EU's funds (most of which get in their pockets eventually), thousands of people leave the country every year and provide a cheap labor force for Western economies and everyone is happy.

Believe me, I am against Erdogan and AKP but those double standards by Europe are one of the reasons he keeps getting elected. In his first years in power American and European leaders were praising him and his party as fighters for democracy and freedom in Turkey. They weren't talking 24/7 on every TV channel about how evil Erdogan is, they were applausing him and looked on the other side when he purged Kemalists and real Patriots from Turkey's armed forces. Eventually he became a dictator for you while others who are much worse than him are partners for stability and freedom.

But it's all a matter of money, power and interests anyway right, so who cares.
 

VFY

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Congratulations to Europe. You now have to deal with a crazed demagogic lunatic for at least another decade. You deserve it :yahoo:
 

anon45

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Well is that for Donald trump?
eh, Trump is constrained domestically by our congress and our courts. Can't say the same for Erdogan now.

Trump's been a shit show domestically (thankfully the shittiest policies have so far been blocked), but so far no major f ups internationally. He's not speaking softly unfortunately, but he's carrying the big stick again.

I support so far his response on North Korea, but if he thinks a 1 and done strike like in Syria will work as a message in North Korea, well then he is delusional. That said it looks like that's not the plan.

The Chinese strategy on the Korean peninsula seems to be unraveling as they both are losing control of North Korea, and are souring their relations with South Korea.
 

El Sidd

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My heart filled salutation and congratulation to the Turkish people. Pakistan is proud of your bold step and sense of responsibility and for the master stroke of the timing of this result.
The lost identity for the Turkish Republic and for the Turks is now returned to you.
 

Luffy 500

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EU actually sent terrorist sympathizers as observers to turkish referendum. And now these EU bigots are crying foul on the referendum results. Funny how pro-PKK terrorist sympathizers verdict weigh more than the verdict of the turkish people to these EU hypocrites. Once again the western world have shown their hypocrisy.

__________________________
Pro-PKK OSCE observer in Turkey to monitor referendum draws criticism
https://www.dailysabah.com/election...-turkey-to-monitor-referendum-draws-criticism

 

Secret Service

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Congratulations to Europe. You now have to deal with a crazed demagogic lunatic for at least another decade. You deserve it :yahoo:
People of Turkey have decided their fate. whether it is good or bad, let them deal with it.
 

Solomon2

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Inside Turkey’s Irregular Referendum
On election day, monitors across the country reported problems in voting that expanded the powers of the president, including unverified ballots and observers kept from polling places; Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismisses criticism



A woman at a polling station in Izmir cast her ballot in Turkey’s April 16 referendum on expanding the powers of the president. PHOTO:OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS

By Ned Levin,
Margaret Coker and Yeliz Candemir
April 25, 2017 4:09 p.m. ET

At lunchtime on April 16, a polling monitor at a school in Turkey’s third-largest city made a troubling discovery. Numerous ballot envelopes for the referendum on whether to increase the power of the presidency were missing verification stamps.

The monitor, in the city of Izmir, had been taught during prevote training that unstamped ballots and envelopes shouldn’t be counted. So he reached for a telephone and did what colleagues across the country also were doing: He asked what to do with the suspect ballots.

Two hours later he got his answer—count them.

The chairman for Turkey’s Supreme Election Council, known by its Turkish initials YSK, said the decision followed a petition from a representative of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party to declare all unstamped ballots and envelopes valid.

Even before final vote tallies were published, Mr. Erdogan declared victory, by a margin of 51% to 49%, for constitutional changes that could make him the most influential Turkish leader since the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Speaking to a crowd outside the presidential mansion, he responded to complaints about the vote in a puzzling way by referencing a Turkish folk tale about a man who stole his horse back from robbers. Translation: What’s done is done.

Behind the scenes, many of the irregular ballots were retroactively stamped by local election officials, making it impossible to tell which had been suspect in the first place. Lawyers following the referendum and opposition politicians say the vote was so compromised it will be impossible to ever be sure of the result. Opposition parties claim that as many as 2.5 million ballots could be suspect. It is impossible to know on which side the disputed ballots were cast.

The 11-judge YSK board—eight members were appointed in September, including three replacements for purged judges—declared the vote valid, rejecting, in a 10-1 decision, opposition demands to annul it. Mr. Erdogan said the ruling resolved the matter and called for the opposition to respect the will of the people. The referendum, he has said, was highly democratic. Final voting results are expected by the end of this week.

The YSK hasn’t commented on its deliberations that day. YSK representatives didn’t respond to questions from The Wall Street Journal about complaints of irregularities or allegations that its decision violates Turkish law.

The vote altered Turkey’s democracy. The changes, many of which take effect after the next elections, scheduled for 2019, will reorient power to the office of the president. They could allow Mr. Erdogan, who has run the country for 14 years, to stay in power for another 12.

Diplomats from several European nations say they are now rethinking their relations with Turkey, one of the European Union’s most significant economic partners and its security ally in the fight against Islamic State.

“We knew something was wrong from the start,” says Metin Feyzioglu, president of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, who ran a call center in Ankara for election legal advice. “If you ask whether it was an organized scheme to affect the referendum, I would say I don’t know. But the result is so clear.”

That the vote went ahead at all is a testament to how much Turkey has changed in the past year of Mr. Erdogan’s tenure. After he was almost toppled in a failed coup last July, the president has been ruling with extraordinary powers under the continuing state of emergency.

His Justice and Development Party, or AKP, drafted and parliament passed the constitutional amendment package, setting the stage for April’s referendum. State authorities had jailed dozens of opposition lawmakers and purged or detained one-third of Turkey’s judicial officials. Mr. Erdogan’s supporters dominated airwaves during the campaign and denied opposition figures permits for rallies.


Electoral staff members in Istanbul counted votes after polls closed on April 16. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Many in Turkey’s legal community have questioned how a fair election could be held during the state of emergency. Since last summer, some 3,000 judges and more than 100,000 other civil servants have been fired or detained, according to Turkish media reports.

The chairmen of 221 lower electoral committees have been replaced, and more than 500 electoral board staff members were detained or arrested after the failed coup, according to European election monitors, who say the April referendum failed to meet international standards.

Eric Meyersson, an assistant professor at the Stockholm School of Economics who studies Turkish elections and voting patterns, says he has never seen irregularities of the magnitude reported on April 16. There is no public information about how many ballots were printed for the referendum or how many were distributed to voters without verification stamps.

“On election day in Turkey, more than 50 million people go out to vote,” he says. “Stuff happens. But there seems to be a difference in magnitude this time around.”

On the morning of the referendum, Servet Akman roused himself at 4 a.m. As chairman of the country’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, in the Altindag district of the capital city of Ankara, he had been responsible for vote monitoring in three prior elections. On April 16, he led a team of 200 ballot-box observers. Each had had two days of training.

His workers spread out after 6 a.m. to the schools to which they were assigned. The police refused entrance to several of the teams, he says. At the same time, AKP monitors walked in without any hassle, he says. An officer at the local police station later told the Journal that he wasn’t aware of any such obstruction.

If poll observers weren’t at their stations by 7 a.m., the head of the polling station could replace them with other people. Mr. Akman says he had to intervene with the local election official to ensure the CHP’s teams could work.

In Reyhanli, a town on the border with Syria in Turkey’s far southeastern province of Hatay, police obstructed CHP voting observers at eight polling stations, according to Hurol Yasar, a local real-estate developer and party member.

In some cases, police removed observers after they had already entered schools, Mr. Yasar says. The officers either gave no explanation or said they were just following orders, he says. An officer at the Reyhanli district police department told the Journal that he wasn’t aware of any obstruction.

Turkish voters received paper ballots that said “yes” on one side and “no” on the other. They voted by stamping “choice” on one side or the other, then sealing the ballot into an envelope and placing it in a ballot box. Both the ballots and the envelopes are supposed to be prestamped by election officials with verification seals, a measure to prevent ballot-box stuffing.


Turkish voters received paper ballots that said “yes” on one side and “no” on the other. They voted by stamping “choice” on one side or the other. PHOTO: ILYAS AKENGIN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

In Hatay province, voters using 159 ballot boxes got improper stamps that said “yes,” potentially confusing the process, says Mr. Yasar. He estimates that at least 55,000 voters could have been affected before local election officials sent replacement stamps.

These problems led to the YSK’s first decision of the day. Ruling No. 559 stated that ballots marked with the improper “yes” stamps would be accepted, as would ballots where the verification stamp was improperly placed.

Back in the Altindag district of Ankara, one polling station monitored by a member of Mr. Akman’s team reported that 185 ballots of 364 cast were on ballots lacking verification stamps.

By lunchtime, Mr. Feyzioglu’s election-advice call center in Ankara had logged nearly 1,000 phone calls as his legal teams fielded reports of ballot irregularities. Ballots being handed out across the country weren’t stamped at all with verification seals by local election-agency representatives.

“This was happening all over the country,” says a call-center coordinator who logged hundreds of complaints from urban centers including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. “It’s not rocket science…to stamp the ballots. We had a very hard time understanding what the deal was.”

In Isparta, in southwestern Turkey, a poll observer from the opposition People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, says 300 voters cast ballots in envelopes without verification stamps before the problem was discovered. His ballot-box committee reported the problem to the district election agency.

The judges arrived at noon, he recalls, with a perplexing answer. “They told us that 45 minutes ago, a decision was made by YSK to accept unstamped ballots.”

Around 3 p.m., Mr. Feyzioglu says, the phone calls to his call centers stopped abruptly, which he attributes to the YSK decision to accept unstamped ballots.

Many vote monitors only became aware of the decision shortly after polls closed for the day, when they started tallying votes from the nation’s 175,000 ballot boxes.

Around 5:30 p.m., a brief announcement appeared on the YSK website. It said the YSK was aware of “heavy volumes” of reports about irregularities and declared the suspect ballots would be counted. It gave no further details about its decision.


Vote counting in Istanbul after the polls closed on April 16. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The AKP representative to the YSK board, Recep Ozel, told the Journal he petitioned the YSK to count the irregular ballots after consulting with AKP headquarters. “We couldn’t ignore the voters’ will due to the ballot-box committees’ failures,” he said. Mr. Erdogan wasn’t involved in the decision, and the election was fair despite minor issues, he said. Election officials may have neglected to stamp ballots and envelopes because they were delivered the morning of the vote, he said, instead of 48 hours before, as in past elections.

European election observers said in a report that the ruling “significantly changed the ballot validity criteria, undermining an important safeguard and contradicting the law.”

On the afternoon of the referendum, polling stations also were reporting other irregularities.

Suruc, a Kurdish district in Urfa province in southeastern Turkey, ran out of ballots, according to Halil Karadas, the opposition HDP’s district chairman. When new ballots arrived, they were a different shade of brown than the ones used earlier, raising questions about their authenticity, says Mr. Karadas.

In other parts of Urfa province, voting rolls showed that dead people, convicts and those who had moved away were casting ballots, according to Mr. Karadas. As many as 3,000 ballots from Suruc lacked verification stamps, he says.

Mr. Feyzioglu says the YSK ruling gave district election officials the legal rationale to prevent observers from recording instances of unstamped ballots, and to erase evidence of possible irregularities by putting stamps on ballots retroactively. “The ruling meant that there were no irregularities, and so there was no need to file reports,” he says.

The formal decision permitting the unstamped ballots showed up on the YSK’s website three days after the voting. An assistant delivered a copy to Mr. Feyzioglu during an interview with the Journal. The decision said the YSK didn’t want to disenfranchise voters.

“It’s bullshit,” Mr. Feyzioglu says.


A crowd gathered in front of Turkey's Supreme Election Council in Ankara with petitions requesting a reversal of the decision to accept ballots without verification stamps. PHOTO: BURHAN OZBILICI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

When Turkey’s polls closed, some of the first ballots to be counted were from 2.9 million registered overseas voters. Opposition poll monitors reported irregularities in these tallies.

One poll monitor from the HDP said some ballot envelopes were unstamped. In addition, she said, state officials in charge of her ballot boxes discarded slightly damaged ballots for “no,” while counting similarly damaged “yes” votes.

At 6:01 p.m. state television began broadcasting results from the state-run Anadolu news agency, whose numbers were updating faster than the YSK’s internal portal accessible to political parties and government officials. Anadolu’s chairman later said the agency got its data directly from ballot boxes after they were counted.

By 7:45 p.m., state broadcaster TRT had called the vote for “yes.”

The poll monitor in Izmir says he was still counting votes at that time. At 9:30 p.m., he joined about 50 others lined up at a local election office to submit results. Anadolu already was reporting that 95% of Izmir’s votes had been tallied even though he and many others had not submitted their totals yet, he says. Izmir overall voted “no.”

At 9:45 p.m., Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared victory. Mr. Erdogan followed suit at 10:15, telling a supportive crowd in Istanbul that “yes” had won by 1.4 million votes. At the time, results published by Anadolu showed the “yes” side ahead by 1.1 million.

More than an hour later, the YSK declared the “yes” side won, but it didn’t provide numbers.

“This nation has realized the most democratic election, the likes of which has not been seen in any Western country,” Mr. Erdogan said the next day.

Write to Ned Levin at ned.levin@wsj.com, Margaret Coker at margaret.coker@wsj.com and Yeliz Candemir at yeliz.candemir@wsj.com
 

MICA

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It's really strange that some of you guys supports this action while you was criticizing the mubarak system in egypt and sisi , is turkey now is living the democracy dream , anyway your country your decision
 

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