As citizens of Turkey living abroad have been voting in the national elections since Thursday, observers from the opposition parties have already begun to report some vote manipulation efforts, Erkan Pehlivan from Frankfurter Rundschau reported.
In Germany, ballot boxes were set up in the Turkish consulates general. The opposition had raised concerns beforehand that the election could be manipulated, however, in only a few cases were ballot boxes set up outside the diplomatic missions.
Journalist Deniz Babir from Medya Haber reported that supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were caught on Thursday attempting to cast multiple ballots by observers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Green Left Party in Frankfurt and Cologne.
The voting observers reported that they intervened and recorded the incidents. A Green Left Party observer confirmed that three AKP supporters tried to vote twice. The observer also said that a chairman of a ballot box had urged an elderly woman to vote for the AKP.
The journalist said that the consulate staff prevented his TV crew from filming the incident, and tried to delete their footage. Babir shared a video on Twitter showing him being led out of the area of the diplomatic mission.
Meanwhile, other journalists from opposition outlets have reported that they were prevented from live reporting from the consulate in Cologne while the state-run broadcaster TRT and the state’s Anadolu Agency were allowed to report live from the area.
The reporters also noticed that voters were being transported to the polling station in vans, which was not allowed. It is not clear who owns the vehicles.
The AKP and the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) were previously accused of transporting voters to polling stations in the past. DİTİB denies any political affiliation and claims to be independent, despite being closely linked to the Turkish government, with its imams being trained and paid for by the Turkish government.
Voting abroad for Turkish elections started on 27 April and will end on 9 May.