Electoral Fraud Discovered in Sarıyer, Istanbul
Bekir Batu, AD edit
Aydınlık newspaper’s news story on AKP electoral fraud in Sarıyer has put its stamp on the agenda, after they discovered that 504 imaginary apartments and close to 10,000 fake voter registrations were created with a few simple keystrokes from a computer on the Istanbul Municipal Council’s system.
An investigation has been started in other provinces to discover whether similar fake voters have been registered in them. Claims have arisen that the AKP, the attempts of which to register around 10,000 illusory voters at a number of businesses in Sarıyer have been documented, will attempt to win seats in other areas of Istanbul by the same means.
The revelation that the AKP have resorted to unimaginable electoral fraud to try to win Sarıyer struck Turkey’s agenda like a bomb, becoming the most talked about subject on the country’s news and social media. The fictitious voters and imaginary apartments were added to the municipality’s computer systems in the middle of the night, with the thousands of fake voters registered to workplaces including a Quranic course.
The CHP Mayor of Sarıyer, Şükrü Genç, had this to say about the electoral fraud discovered in his area: “They [the AKP] wanted to prevent the CHP from entering the election by claiming we had not handed in our documents in time, but when this was unsuccessful, they got involved in these dirty games. But whatever they do, they will be unable to save themselves from a political thrashing in Sarıyer, just as it turned out in the last election.”
Genç also spoke of the possibilities that similar tricks had been attempted in other areas of Istanbul, saying, “In Sarıyer a lot of unimaginable secret plans have been put into effect. Their aim is not to serve Sarıyer, but to squeeze profit out of it. The people of Sarıyer know their filthy games very well and will not give them any credit.”
The lawyer Necati Yıldırım has presented a criminal complaint on the issue to the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office. “The registration of false voters to the electoral in Sarıyer exceeds, according to the claims, 10,000 voters. The size of this number shows that [the fraud] was intended to completely change the outcome of the election in Sarıyer. This situation, which was allegedly organised by figures close to the AKP, contravenes the provisions in the 67th article of the constitution entitled ‘Political rights and duties.’ This crime carries a 5-year prison sentence.
Coincidentally, the CHP won the previous municipal elections in Sarıyer by a margin of 10,000 votes.
The addition of the 504 fictitious apartments was done through computers in the Numbering department, which is attached to a subsection of the Istanbul Municipal Council, a fact that raised many questions for Istanbul’s mayor Kadir Topbaş. Aydınlık newspaper uncovered the fact that the Numbering department’s computer network in all areas of Istanbul can be accessed with a special password by users of the National Address Database, who also have the authority to make changes to the system. One of these users was identified as the ones who entered the system late at night and made those changes.
A worker from the AKP’s Municipal Council named Yasemin Yenice entered this system outside of work hours, and added 34 nonexistent buildings, containing a total of 504 addresses. As a result, the system which dealt with voter registration contained these imaginary residences in Darüşşafaka, Şişli, allowing for fake voters to be registered there.
So, with a single keystroke, these 34 buildings and 504 apartments were added to the neighbourhood, which in reality contains 1039 buildings and 5057 apartments. Şükrü Genç requested the immediate removal of these buildings from the system as soon as the deception was discovered.
The Istanbul Municipality claims that these buildings were added to the register as the result of an “error”. However, no explanation has been given as to why the addition to the system was made at midnight.