The Eğil (Gêl) District Election Board has dismissed allegations made by Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) regarding voter registration manipulation in the Eğil district, Diyarbakır (Amed).
This decision comes amid growing scrutiny over the surge in voter numbers in Kurdish-majority areas ahead of Turkey’s 31 March 2024 local elections. The Board’s rejection of these claims has raised concern over a possible cover-up of electoral irregularities.
In their objection, the DEM Party highlighted a striking and sudden increase in the number of voters in Eğil, which escalated from 878 in the May 2023 general elections to 2,088 over the past eight months.
The party alleged that these new voters, all registered at the Eğil District Gendarmerie Command, were fictitious and primarily military personnel. However, the Election Board, while acknowledging that the new registrants were indeed military personnel, did not find sufficient grounds to support the claim of voter manipulation.
The Board’s decision indicated a partial acceptance and rejection of the DEM Party’s application, stating that 1,170 of these individuals were indeed stationed at the Eğil District Gendarmerie Command, with an additional 37 at the District Security Directorate in various public roles.
The response from the Election Board has drawn attention due to the lack of information regarding an individual mentioned in the DEM Party’s complaint, raising questions about the thoroughness of the investigation.
DEM Party’s Eğil Co-Chair Ömer Akgündüz argued in the complaint that the address transfer of voters to military buildings was fictitious, pointing out the implausibility of such a high number of voters residing in a relatively small area. Akgündüz highlighted that approximately 800 voters were registered to a building with only 40 independent door numbers, and around 400 to another with 22 door numbers, both within the Eğil District Gendarmerie Command premises.
The case in Eğil (Gêl) reflects a wider pattern of alleged voter manipulation in Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey, especially notable in the lead-up to the 31 March 2024 local elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is accused of strategically transferring voter registrations of security personnel to districts with Kurdish majorities, a manoeuvre perceived by many as an effort to influence election outcomes in areas typically favouring opposition, especially pro-Kurdish, parties.
These allegations and the subsequent dismissal by the Eğil District Election Board have raised significant concerns about the integrity of the upcoming local elections in Turkey, particularly in Kurdish-majority areas.
The DEM Party has indicated its intention to continue legal pursuits to address these alleged irregularities.