By Ela Gonca İzmirliA change.org petition that started after the April 16th Constitutional Referendum in Turkey already attracted more than 480.000 signatures. The petition is asking for the reversal of a controversial last-minute decision made by the highest authority on elections in the country, the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), that permitted the votes cast without an official stamp to be admissible. The petition also asks for a formal investigation into the practices of the ballot box committees that allowed unstamped votes to be cast.
YSK a few hours in the counting of the votes had issued a decision allowing the ballots and envelopes without an official stamp to be considered valid “unless proved to be brought from outside.” According to the Turkish electoral law, each vote needs to be sealed by ballot box committee right before it is handed to the voter.
The YSK decision caused outrage both from the opposition party leaders, and the electorate. Head of the PACE delegation Cezar Florin Preda who was in Turkey as an election observer said that “Late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard.” A Turkish non-profit that was also monitoring the referendum issued a preliminary report saying that the fraud was widespread, especially in certain areas.
Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in series of tweets declared that Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) will not recognize the results of this referendum saying it “will be remembered in history as unstamped elections.” The protests began in many districts of Istanbul and Ankara immediately after the referendum results were announced and started spreading to other cities of the country.
The biggest victory for a change.com Turkish petition was related to Fenerbahce Sports Club, a football club whose management was accused of match-fixing. The petition which was signed by 622,328 and called for a retrial of the Sports Club, which was eventually ordered by the court.