12 February 2019:
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party officials have been detained in dawn police raids in the southeastern city of Siirt after discovering massive irregularities on the electoral roll, Turkish news site Tele1 reported on Tuesday.
The two HDP officials, Cemal Turhan and Eşref Tekin, had uncovered serious inconsistencies on Siirt’s voter lists, from which thousands of voters’ details had been deleted and replaced with thousands of suspicious names, Tele1 reported. A third person whose identity is not known was also detained.
An HDP deputy for Siirt, Meral Danış Beştaş, disclosed the irregularities in the city during a speech in parliament, openly accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of attempting to win the upcoming March 31 local elections by fraud.
Turhan and Tekin’s research found that 6,488 voters had been wiped from the electoral register. It also revealed several instances where hundreds of voters had been registered to a single address, the highest number being 765, and totalling around 6,000 names.
“In Turkey the results of elections have always provoked controversy … People would always say votes were being stolen … And dozens of details have been revealed about how they were stolen. But now it isn’t votes that are being stolen, it’s voters,” Beştaş said, discussing the party’s findings during a speech in parliament.
“Voters are being deleted from a city’s electoral roll, and it doesn’t end there. They’ve been replaced by thousands of names of people who aren’t voters and have no relation to the city, and we have no idea where they’ve come from or how,” she said.
While the electoral register showed figures that approximately matched the number of voters in the presidential and parliamentary elections last year, many of the 6,488 voters who had been deleted found that unknown persons had been registered to their addresses, said Beştaş.
Serious doubts have already been cast over the March elections, as opposition politicians have discovered the presence of thousands of questionable additions to voter lists.
These included over 6,000 voters over the age of 100, many of whom were first-time voters.
In numerous instances across the country, hundreds of names of voters have been registered to a single address. Local press reports show that some of these addresses are for barns, derelict buildings, or otherwise uninhabitable places.
The AKP has hit back at criticism from opposition circles by saying that over 500,000 of its own members were missing from the lists. Despite this, the ruling party voted down a motion drafted by the HDP for a parliamentary investigation of voter registration lists.