Hasan Akgun, the current mayor of Istanbul’s Buyukcekmece municipality, claimed, on Saturday, that it was reported to him that 5 thousand police officers would be brought into the neighborhood as ‘on duty’ and would be given a second opportunity to vote on March 31 in an effort to influence the local election results.
His comments, made during a televised speech at KRT TV, came amid many electoral fraud allegations that have come out of the woodwork ahead of the upcoming elections.
Akgun, who was nominated mayoral candidate again by the main opposition, Republican’s People Party (CHP), based his claim on reports by two “conservative” prominent journalists, whom the mayor says warned him to take measures.
Akgun encouraged voters to protect the ballot boxes and urged Suleyman Soylu, Interior Minister of the ruling AK Party (AKP), to unveil possible fraud and respond to allegations.
“This is unacceptable. I do not want to believe in this,” he added.
Fraudulent voter registrations
A public servant in Buyukcekmece was arrested in January over claims that he had fraudulently registered at least 354 residents to the unoccupied flats in the neighborhood during September, October, November and December 2018, aiming to let them ‘vote’ in the upcoming elections.
In January, Onursal Adiguzel, CHP’s vice-chairman, raised the issue of bogus voters taking part in the elections saying that imaginary or deceased Turkish citizens have been added to the list of voters.
“Ayse (148) and Zulfu (149), both with no surnames, will be voting in the upcoming elections. There is also 165-year-old Ekici, who was born in 1854. This person has been added to the voter list for the first time,” he added.
Turkey has witnessed heated debates around the alleged exploitation of ballots in past elections.
An Austrian member from the Council of Europe said, “Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday’s Turkish referendum,” referring to the constitutional referendum of Turkey, held on April 16, 2017, in which President Tayyip Erdogan adopted an enhanced executive presidential system.
Adiguzel said the number of voters has doubled this year in some regions.