In conclusion to my Letter of Inquiry (1) towards the make-it or break-it 2023 May 28 Turkish Runoff presidential poll, I wondered whether we cannot put it to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) President Yener that his constitutional 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 rather a conduit of the (rigged?) process in Turkey.
This brings me to my Letter of Inquiry (2), in search of the source of this trapped situation in which the YSK finds itself to the extent of failing to deliver the goods according to the dictates of the Turkish Constitution. Why should this happen when the Constitution is the mother of all laws? My mind recalls the “causa causae est causa causati” Latin phrase left behind by the Romans. The phrase literally means the cause of (another) cause, is also the cause of its result or the effect.
This brain teaser provides the common fallback position for law practitioners, the learned brothers, in arguing that “if a non-fatal wound caused a condition such as infection that in turn caused death, then the non-fatal wound caused death.” Downloaded on the Turkey polling system, what is the cause of vote rigging which brings or maintains illegitimate leaders on the governance platform? Because these leaders are a product of a criminal process, the only thing they can do is practice all sorts of repressions until the death of all freedoms man was created to enjoy. The problem here develops into: “Why should this happen? Why is it perpetrated by man himself who is supposed to be the beneficiary? This hell on earth in Turkey is not a creation of ‘angels’ of death from the Kingdom of Lucifer. What is its source?”
What is the causa causae est causati version of the entrenched cancerous vote rigging in Turkey? Just as we did in the Letter of Inquiry (1) by getting into the operations of the YSK chief’s office, the right place in this case is the Palace in Ankara. It is from here that the Presidency, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has conceptualize the like of a critical path method that has brought Turkey where it is today in election rigging. If there is polls rigging in Turkey, thefore, its origin is the presidency. Why and how?
In the study of the critical path method (CPM) it is said the practice is a step-by-step project (this time around poll rigging) management technique for process planning that defines critical and non-critical tasks with the goal of preventing project schedule problems and process bottlenecks. So, in a way, CPM is ideal for projects consisting of numerous activities that interact in a complex way.
No doubt vote rigging is one of such projects. Why? One has got to define the required tasks and arrange them in a sequence list. One has got to create a flow-chart showing each task in relation to the other. One must identify critical and non-critical relationships or paths among tasks. It is imperative to determine the expected end and state the date or execution of completion time of each task.
One extremely critical aspect of the CPM process is to locate and devise alternatives or back-ups for the most critical paths and finally update the plan as the project progresses. This is why, in this age of science and technology, it is not strange (in fact it is essential) to develop a vote rigging software with CPM capabilities using a CP algorithm that automatically adjusts the plan based on specific inputs such as changes in scope and timeframe.
Poll rigging is not something that can take place by accident. It is a project planned to deliver the exact goods. What do we read when we dip a stick in the Erdogan regime election rigging sump? During the mayoral race for the Ankara capital in 2014, counting stopped for several hours at several polling stations after it became apparent that results were going in favour of the opposition. What reason was given? A cat had caused a short circuit in the electrical system. What happened when the counting resumed? Ruling AKP party candidate’s votes grew from 3,000 when the counting had stopped to 20,000 at the finish.
Come the crucial referendum voting in 2017 giving sweeping powers to President Erdogan, Supreme Election Council (YSK) judges violated the constitution when they allowed even ballots without official seal to be counted, giving way to fraudulent voting. There were even cases of some voters only being required to mark “yes” or “no” on ballots which were handed out after getting the official seal, thus making them valid before the voting. It is claimed that through this rigging, about 2.5 million bogus votes were counted leading to Erdogan’s victory.
Last year (2022), the Erdogan government changed the electoral law providing for judges on the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), which manages and sees all elections in the country, to be selected by lottery instead of seniority. In this way, how can the YSK release poll results that are not in favour of continued Erdogan’s rule?
Prior to the 2017 referendum, ministers were required to resign from their positions prior to the election. Soon after winning the referendum, the Erdogan government abolished this regulation. Now, ahead of this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, YSK followed suit and trashed it. This means the ministers can take advantage of their positions to make campaigns, creating an uneven playground for all players and influence the outcome.
Poll rigging in Turkey is something live, and systemically systemic to democracy. It is a project befitting the CPM analysis. But, as a saying goes, you can go on cheating but at the end of the day, you will not be able to cheat all the people all the time. African indigenous knowledge also says: “Siku za mwizi ni arobaini”—literally meaning the days of the thief are forty or as an English saying goes: “the days of the thief are numbered.”
Could this come true for the YSK this time? As we wait for the May 28 presidential runoff, why is the YSK failing to release full results of the May 14 exercise when the enquiry point has been closed? Could it be because of the claimed six million vote cast in 22,000 ballot boxes which are ‘suspicious’; or is the YSK waiting for a chance to fall back on the figures during the poll re-run exercise?
YSK President Ahmet Yener, as a head of the judges, has an uphill task. But, as a servant of Erdogan, this is easy. After all, this was done in the referendum polls where 2.5 million suspicious votes led to Erdogan’s victory over the masses. It will only be a repeat. Along an African indigenous knowledge observation, relationship between the Erdogan regime and poll rigging is like that of the finger and the ring, “pete na kidole.”
But to YSK’s Yener, history may not forgive him. Erdogan amy win the runoff poll because he possesses all it takes to announce a victory. But, one day he will defnitely go. However, the judges’ professional ethics will never. And, according to the Turkish Constitution, poll cheating remains a very serious offense, attracting a maximum penalty.
Erdogan is the causa causae est causati of poll rigging in Turkey as he is for other supporting rigging formats in politics per se, the judiciary and media, the latter of which constitutes the Letter of Inquiry (3) and the last.