AKP pressures Turkish prosecutor to investigate alleged electoral fraud

The Istanbul Anadolu Cumhuriyet Prosecutorship Office has launched 32 different investigations into possible electoral fraud and irregularities in the vote for Istanbul mayorship.

This was done at the request of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) state-run news agency Anadolu (AA) reported on Thursday.

The office has been investigating irregularities in three districts of Istanbul, Maltepe, Kadikoy and Atasehir.

More than 100 ballot box supervisors were invited to testify as suspects. The investigations focus on claims that a significant number of ballot box officials had been illegally appointed since they were not public servants.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) argued that it was the Supreme Electoral Council’s (YSK) responsibility to appoint suitable officials, who can also be other than public servants in places were needed to cover all ballot boxes.

The prosecutor reportedly asked the supervisors whether they had taken responsibility for elections before, how they were elected and counted the votes; and whether the signatures on voting reports belonged to them, left-wing news site Gazete Duvar reported.

CHP seniors claimed the investigations had been staged to support the YSK’s final decision on the results from the March poll re-run in Istanbul. The decision is expected to be taken early next week.

After the CHP’s mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won the mayorship in Istanbul, the AKP filed numerous appeals, first for vote recounts and later for the cancellation of the elections.

Engin Altay, CHP parliamentary party deputy chairman, claimed the investigations were a sign of serious AKP pressure on the YSK.

“I can announce even right now that beyond those [new 32 investigations] there will be various official complaints against various individuals,” said AKP vice-chair Ali Ihsan Yavuz on Thursday.

In response to the investigations, the CHP’s Istanbul district officer Canan Kaftancioglu posted a Twitter message on Thursday saying they will not let AKP steal the votes on the election boards, as they have not let on the ballot boxes.

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