Government mulls over camera surveillance at ballot boxes

Government mulls over camera surveillance at ballot boxes

Government mulls over camera surveillance at ballot boxes

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The government has the capability to install surveillance cameras at polling stations if the High Election Board (YSK) takes such a decision, Interior Minister Selami Altınok told reporters on Sept. 5.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has mulled over whether to apply to the YSK for the practice, as other political parties were also favoring camera surveillance at polling stations, daily Cumhuriyet quoted AKP officials, who asked to remain anonymous, as saying on Sept. 6. 

There were similar requests for the June 7 election, but the government failed to install cameras due to technical insufficiencies, said the official. 

The AKP has claimed citizens cannot cast their votes freely due to pressure imposed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), suggesting votes for the AKP decreased in east and southeastern Turkey for this reason. 

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also applied to the YSK to maintain elections security, particularly in 123 security zones declared by the government, and recalled the proposal of placing cameras at ballot boxes.
Mehmet Tiryaki, the HDP’s representative for the YSK, said cameras should be implemented not only in eastern and southeastern provinces, but across Turkey, otherwise it would spark debate and objections. “All ballot boxes and places where the ballot papers and ballot boxes are assembled should be monitored,” Tiryaki said, as quoted by Cumhuriyet.

Meanwhile, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu ruled out a delay of the Nov. 1 election.

“Even speaking of a postponement of the election is not right. It’s disrespectful to democracy,” he told reporters on Sept. 5, as he left an event held by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations for the opening of the new judicial year.

The CHP would not object to camera surveillance of polling stations, Kılıçdaroğlu also said.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş earlier said conditions to hold early elections in Turkey’s eastern parts were unsuitable.