In the run-up to Turkey’s local elections scheduled for 31 March, allegations emerge that thousands of voters have been moved into the Kurdish-majority eastern province of Iğdır (Îdir), with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) adding scores of military and police personnel to the electoral register in the area.
After the general election on 14 May, it was revealed that new residency records of 2,193 voters had been transferred to Iğdır’s police headquarters and military bases prior to polling, Mezopotamya news agency reported. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won the province in the 2019 local elections by a margin of 1,514 votes.
Iğdır MP Yılmaz Hun of the People’s Democratic Party (DEM), pointed to a further increase in the number of voters registered since last year’s general elections and particularly in the lead up to the March 2024 polls. There were 66,183 voters registered for the general elections in the province, while the number has now risen to 75,522, a dramatic rise of 9,336 over seven months, Hun said.
Suspicions have also been raised over irregularities at specific addresses, such as an increase from five to 1,450 voters in one police directorate, and the sudden appearance of 743 registered voters in a military base building,
It is alleged that the AKP government is attempting to manipulate the vote by changing administrative boundaries in addition to moving voters. Residents of two different neighbourhoods are said to have had their addresses moved to a nearby village administration. This strategy is believed to be aimed at relocating DEM Party voter registrations to rural villages, and AKP supporters from the villages to the central, more competitive neighbourhoods.