Governor’s office denies allegations that FSA members voted in Turkey’s elections

Governor’s office denies allegations that FSA members voted in Turkey’s elections

HATAY
Governor’s office denies allegations that FSA members voted in Turkey’s elections

The governor’s office in the southern border province of Hatay has denied allegations that Free Syrian Army (FSA) members have voted in the city’s Defne neighborhood, following a social media post from a local journalist alleging that buses without license plates and with Syrian flags entered the neighborhood. 

“The allegations made on social media do not reflect the facts,” read the statement issued by the governor’s office on June 24.

It added that the aforementioned Aşağıokçular Elementary School has been designated as a voting place for Special Operation Police who served in the northern Syrian district of Afrin, where the Turkish military recently carried out Operation Olive Branch and has currently deployed troops.

“Special Operations personnel arrived at the Aşağıokçular Elementary School to cast their votes by presenting their duty papers and voter cards, in accordance with the decision made by the Provincial Election Board,” read the statement.

The statement came after a Facebook post shared by local journalist Ali Arslan Dadük on June 24 alleged that a group of FSA members was brought to Hatay’s Defne neighborhood to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections.

The video shows a bus without a license plate, and a police officer in front of the bus is heard telling people that it includes police serving in Afrin.

“According to the citizens, they have been going to schools and are voting with the help of police. This video was taken in front of the [Aşağıokçular] Muhtar Ahmet Yiğitoğlu Elementary School,” Dadük posted, which was later shared on Twitter and went viral.

Dadük told the Hürriyet Daily News that he had received the video from local resident Çağla Dilan.

“There were four buses without a license plate in front of Ahmet Yiğitoğlu Elementary School. When we approached, three of them left,” Dilan said, adding that people in the bus showed them a paper with a Syrian flag on it.

On May 2, YSK head Sadi Güven had said that soldiers on cross-border duty in Syria and Iraq are able to vote if they transfer their registry record.

Turkey, Hatay, FSA, elections