‘Electoral Council under threat, Kurdish votes stolen in Turkey referendum’

Eren Erdem, lawmaker of the People's Republican Party (CHP).

People’s Republican Party (CHP) lawmaker Eren Erdem claimed members of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) were afraid of being jailed as members of the Gulenist movement.

In an interview with Irfan Aktar published on news outlet Gazete Duvar, Erdem said that the members of the YSK had told their families and close friends that they had to choose between jail and law.

“They made their decision under pressure: ‘If we render the referendum invalid, we’ll all go to jail on Gulen movement membership charges,’” the lawmaker said, adding that President Erdogan’s visit to the president of the Constitutional Court of Turkey, Zuhtu Arslan, was an “open threat.”

The lawmaker also said that the ‘no’ side had won the referendum on 16 April and that the claim over “Kurds voting yes” was false. “The Kurds didn’t vote ‘yes’, the votes of the Kurds were stolen,” Erdem said.

“Although the ballots were opened at 16.00 in the 31 provinces of the Southeast, no one was allowed in to monitor the counting until 17.20. The YSK sent a message at 17.20 which said everyone was allowed to monitor the counting but then it was too late. The Kurdish votes were manipulated during this period of 1 hour and 20 minutes,” the CHP parliamentarian said.

It was announced at 17.10 that the unstamped ballots were to be accepted. “The YSK was warned by AKP [Justice and Development Party] members and took a hasty decision [to allow unstamped votes]. We estimate that around 2.5 million votes were manipulated this way,” Erdem said.

The CHP deputy also drew attention to imprisoned Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and the government trustees appointed to municipalities administered by the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the sister party of the HDP and said, “This is also a scandal signed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

He concluded, “Turkey witnessed one of the heaviest coups in the history of the republic on 16 April.”