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Don’t give up, friends in Turkey!

On 24th of June, Turkey held snap presidential and parliamentary elections. Both took place under a state of emergency declared after 15th of July 2016 with a high voter turnout at almost 87%.  Erdogan remains victorious the active participation of citizens in ensuring  fair and transparent elections, as well as HDP re-entering the Parliament shows the resilience of Turkish opposition in their fight for freedom, democracy and justice.  

Erdogan has won a new five-year presidential term with hugely increased powers under the new system in the first round of a presidential poll with 52% of votes according to preliminary results announced by the Supreme Election Committee (YSK). Following the constitutional amendments approved in the referendum from 2017, the new president will be both, head of state and head of government, with the position of the Prime Minister being abolished. The new system is thus set to hand Erdoğan significant executive powers, such as appointing vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges. The president will also be able to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees, and impose a state of emergency.

Parliamentary elections resulted with majority of AKP and MHP alliance, yet HDP and IYI Party passing the threshold. FYEG is particularly impressed by the electoral success of HDP. With many members and two previous party leaders imprisoned HDP countered censorship, oppression and hate by running a successful campaign built on peace and democracy which will prevent AKP to have majority in the parliament. This is the second time HDP managed to reach over the 10 % threshold which is set excessively high in a manner discouraging the opposition.

While the June 24 elections resulted with Erdoğan and the AKP keeping the power, provided it can find a coalition partner,  they were unfair in many cases.  Demirtaş as HDP presidential candidate was running his campaign from a prison cell. Turkey’s official media channel TRT gave 38 hours of visibility for AKP and MHP alliance, and only 3 hours to opposition with no coverage of HDP. Ballots were moved to different locations with last minute changes preventing citizens to observe the count. Many fraud cases have been caught and processed, especially in Şanlıurfa, a city in South East of Turkey with strong HDP voters. 

Nevertheless, the election process also gives hope. For the first time, the opposition could build a united force, creating strong civil initiatives fighting for democracy and just elections which played a huge part in ensuring  fairness and transparency of the electoral process People participated in the elections not only by voting but also by becoming ballot observers all over Turkey. For example, citizens could upload votes from each ballot to the online system to compare with state-run media results, calling out the discrepancy in front of many Supreme Electoral Board offices. 

In all actions, thousands of young people were in the forefront. FYEG stands in solidarity with all people in Turkey. We will keep supporting  young people who bravely fight for democracy, justice and their right to reclaim their future!