Extraordinary security measures taken for polls
ISTANBULExtraordinary measures have been taken to secure the March 30 local elections following one of the tensest electoral campaigns in Turkey's political history.
In Istanbul alone, 15,062 policemen will be on duty at voting centers. After the voting is complete, the number will increase to 39,000 to oversee the counting, packaging and transferring of the ballots, which means that almost all police officers in Istanbul will be on duty for the local elections.
Political parties will also take their own measures. Mustafa Ataş, the chair of the Election Coordination Committee of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said that in addition to the legally taken measures, the party has made an extensive plan to follow up the election results. AKP representatives at voting centers have been instructed not to leave until all votes are counted and registered. Specially designed smart phones have also been distributed to AKP representatives to photograph and send vote registers to the Ankara headquarters to be used as evidence in possible legal battles and recounting in the future.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has also set up its own online system to scrutinize the election results by hiring two information technology expert from abroad. All citizens have been invited to login to the website with their citizenship numbers and check to see whether the counts are correct.
daily Hürriyet Ankara correspondent
Mert Gökhan Koç was attacked during
a brawl between AKP and Turkish
Communist Party (TKP) supporters.
Daily Zaman's correspondent Derviş Genç, on the other hand, was briefly detained after taking a photo of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's adviser Mustafa Varank and journalist Yıldıray Oğur earlier in March during a rally in Mersin