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HomeHeadlineTowards 2023 Turkey Runoff: Letter of Inquiry (1)

Towards 2023 Turkey Runoff: Letter of Inquiry (1)

Hardly a week to the May 28 2023 Turkish Presidential runoff, making up two weeks of the country’s longest vigil of the century, anybody who inquisitively followed the process leading to the May 14 crucial presidential and parliamentary elections must be having a litany of query categories which could be summed up into “a letter of inquiry” rather than enquiry, calling various sectors responsible for good governance and across-the-board human rights affairs in Turkey to question.  

Why do I dare call it a letter of inquiry? It is because the process of establishing real facts around and behind the 2023 polls, demands going beyond holding simple enquiries. Taking a more critical look at what has been and is still taking place in Turkey, even the word “inquiry” is too soft. When physical lives, social, economic, political and religious rights are disappearing just like that and life for proscribed providers seems to go on as usual, wouldn’t an “inquest” be the more or most appropriate word?   But this analysis restricts its focus activity to the historic 2023 polls at the level of an inquiry.

Category One Leading Inquiry area naturally concerns the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) which occupies the apex and the constitutionally lone seat in the country’s polls process. First established in 1950, the YSK is Turkey’s highest electoral authority, which gained constitutional authority in 1961 and has since been mandated to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld. On top of that, its ruling is final with no appeal options from or by whatever any other organ. The responsibility for whatever it does or allows to be done, from the perspective of holding polls, therefore, lies squarely on its shoulders.

Inquiry Number One: Simply on human grounds or put it diplomatically on the sidelines of the polls exercise, what message did the Council President Ahmet Yener get or what lesson did he learn from the incident of a 20-year-old daughter of Turkey, who, after he released the official presidential ballot results, chose to take her life? What does his conscience, if it has not unfortunately disappeared into the thin air of corruption like in many Turkey leadership cases, tell him? Can he see himself linked, however remotely, with this sad incident related to the polls?

In her suicide note, teenage Kübra Ergin said the results of the May 14 elections in Turkey left her in despair and that she saw no future under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. Official results put President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the lead at 49.5 percent of the vote against his main challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s 44.89 percent.

kubra ergin

She said that she had spent her entire life under AKP rule and had never felt free as a woman. “They [the AKP] stole my youth, my future…  Although my family always supported me, I never felt free. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a democracy …” According to Kübra Ergin, only death could set her free. In its “Freedom in the World 2023” report, Freedom House rated Turkey as “not free”, with a score of 32 out of 100 in the same slot as Russia, China and Iran. What does YSK chief Yener have to say about this?

The Second Inquiry, which is very basic, takes us all the way to the State of Bremen in Germany. From there, we were told, the number of resident voters is 1,300. But valid votes turned out to be 10,600.  Fantastic! Suppose the voter turnout was 100%, which is extremely rare due to various uncontrollable factors like sickness or death, where does this inconceivable and very highly incredible 137,800% rise in the voters arise from? How else can one depict, explain or paint a picture of vote rigging and, this time around, in a very reckless manner? What does YSK chief Yener have to say about this? What happened with other overseas voting centres? If 1,300 voters generated 10,600 valid votes  what picture  can be painted with a million voters?

The Third Inquiry under this category is about the earthquake region where conditions are reported to have made it possible for a person to cast a vote in three different boxes via the options of AKP-Erdogan, MHP-Erdogan, and YRP-Erdogan. Could this explain why the finger post-vote-casting requirement was removed? What does YSK chief Yener have to say about this?

Statistics emanating from the earthquake region revealed instances of more than half of the population re-locating, in which case voters were required to re-register in new areas of residence. Hatay capital, Antakya, we were told, turned into a ghost town almost with no undamaged building. Survivors focused mainly on adapting to their post-quake life more than elections.

It is estimated that more than three million people left their devastated cities. Hatay mayor said more than 200,000 city residents would not be able to vote after failing to register by the March deadline, while 150,000 would be voting in other cities. Who, between the incumbent and opposition candidates, benefitted or lost more from the registration deadline? Yener conscience has the answer. Could this have been part of the solution dealing with the opposition stronghold where post-earthquake frustrated voters “… want{ed} this incompetent government to go…”? Again Yener’s conscience has the answers.

The Fourth inquiry is: Could the Supreme Election Council   President Ahmet Yener have hidden himself behind the election curtain and taken the world for ride when he said YSK has ruled that the Interior Ministry  Security and Emergency Coordination Centre (CAMER), tracking system has no role in the election process and cannot receive or collect information related to the exercise?

During our secondary school mathematics syllabus, there was something interesting with the subject of geometry. Geometry questions, at times, started with something  given in which case all that we were supposed to do is work backwards ending up with the answer which was the question.

 In a pre-poll statement, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that Erdoğan would receive about 49.5% of the votes and the election would go to the second round. What was the source of this information? Was it pre-planned? How could this have been set without employing the “given” approach in the geometry subject study? There has got to be a leading (cheating?) module. So, was the warning of the Teneo political risk consultancy firm that Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had established a tally infrastructure to monitor the elections in an effort to delegitimize opposition’s victory right?

In other words, can this category of inquiry series put it to the Supreme Election Council President Yener that his mandate notwithstanding, the YSK still works under a system which is above the Constitution and, as such, cannot claim to be the sole power but a conduit of the polls process in Turkey?

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Felix Kaiza is a Tanzanian journalist with more than 50 years of experience currently working as an independent media consultant. Learned in agriculture, journalism, political science and international relations, his main fields of consultancy, besides the media, are good governance, nature conservation, tourism and investment. He was the first Tanzanian Chief Sub-Editor of an English daily newspaper in 1970, he has been behind the establishment and growth of the national independent media since the early 1990s. He is UNFAO Fellow Journalist since 1975 and has wide experience on regional integration. He worked on the Information Directorate of the original East African Community on whose ashes survive the current one. His ambition is to brand Tanzania in the inbound market with made-in-Tanzania brands, including information, almost all of which is currently foreign brewed.

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