Will AKP steal votes?

There is widespread public belief that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will steal votes at the general election on June 7. After last year’s contentious local election in Ankara, nobody believes that the elections will be free of problems and fraud.

The dynamics behind the concerns over the possibility that the AKP may steal votes are as follows: In case the AKP fails to form a single-party government, some of its members will face prosecution due to grave crimes they have committed over the past two years. For them to avoid prosecution, the AKP has to remain in power.

Erdogan, who held a Quran in his recent political rallies, particularly confirms this belief. Erdogan not only violated basic constitutional rules in the rallies but also exploited sacred values and sentiments as well. He attempted to use the Quran as a party brochure. This shows that he is set to do anything to consolidate the AKP support base. There is no guarantee that a mentality that violates the Constitution to win the election, and gives the impression that no prosecution can be held even in case of constitutional violations, will not steal votes while there is a possibility they will lose election.

Also, there is no legal or judicial mechanism that will have the courage to prosecute the offenses committed by Erdogan and AKP members. Given that judges were placed under arrest just because of their decisions, the AKP members have become immune to the judicial process.

Not even a single judge will ever prosecute an AKP member even if they steal votes. In a legal system where the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) operates like a party branch, AKP partisans will be tempted to manipulate the elections.

Suspects in cases involving a number of AKP figures such as Deniz Feneri, and the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption and bribery operations were shelved or frozen. Judges and prosecutors who acted against AKP figures were punished whereas those who exonerated them were promoted. There is some sort of impression that the HSYK looks for judges and prosecutors who would acquit AKP figures. In this case, who will prosecute the suspects if the AKP steals votes?

An imam was caught trying to commit election fraud in Germany. The Religious Affairs Directorate (DİB), which issued fatwas in favor of the AKP did not make any public statement on this incident. And we have not seen any legal action against that imam. However, we have also seen that the same DİB expelled another imam who re-tweeted a tweet in his account. The party has already destroyed law; and if a religious institution remains silent to election fraud, who would prevent the AKP from stealing votes?

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) does not take any action, nor does it make any statement to the public; besides, recent statements by the YSK can be taken as a confession to election fraud and despair. The statements also confirm that they will not do anything even if votes are stolen. At least the reactions on social media proved that. This contributed to the confirmation that the YSK is perceived as making non-serious and ungrounded statements.

Most importantly, the AKP’s corruption, the monies seized in police operations, indifference of the judiciary to the grave offenses all confirm the impression that the AKP may steal votes. Now the public, aware that election fraud is extremely likely, discuss who is in charge of these frauds.

The YSK does not want the recording of the votes in a computer system in the schools where the ballot boxes will be stationed. The YSK suggests that the number of votes should be centrally processed. This is where the problem starts because it raises concerns that there will be shift to the AKP during this process. The AKP argues that this can be inspected. However, it takes time. Those who stole votes by reliance on similar methods before were prosecuted; but because this was delayed, nobody paid attention.

In addition, there is no guarantee that the AKP, which destroyed the judicial system to cover up corruption and placed judges under arrest, will not interfere with the election system and process to prevent inspections.