Human rights defenders and civil initiatives are intensifying efforts to ensure safety and security in Turkey’s upcoming 14 May elections, with Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul branch Chair Gülseren Yoleri announcing that a repeated application for the implementation of independent electoral monitoring and observation has been made to the country’s Supreme Board of Elections (YSK). Since 2011 the human rights watchdog has made several such applications but all were rejected.
Violations of security occur in every dimension of Turkey’s elections, Yoleri stressed, highlighting recent legal, legislative and administrative practices that restrict the Turkish public’s access to social media and accurate information. The IHD human rights association is a member of an independent monitoring platform set up by civil society activists, said the chair. Members who are not party officials will be assigned by the IHD to report regional rights violations via a digital system.
The influencing of public perception through the strategic use of social media is one of the most significant violations of a fair electoral process, said Yoleri.
IHD’s Istanbul chair also warned that the Turkish government had not put preventative measures in place to mitigate armed or physical attacks on campaign rallies during the last election period, and pointed out that candidates from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had been unable to do vehicle tours.
The electoral process will be monitored until all objections are resolved and the final results announced, said the IHD chair. The government is increasingly tightening restrictions on rights and freedoms in Turkey, so it is more critical than ever that this year’s elections are both safe and secure, she added.