Turkish local election candidates to give freebies to voters

Turkish local election candidates to give freebies to voters

Turkish local election candidates to give freebies to voters

Photograph shows a rally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) before next month’s Turkish local elections. Municipalities hand many gifts, including matches, diapers or food, in a bid to win the hearts of voters.

In previous years, Turkey has seen food and coal distributed to potential voters months ahead of local elections. But municipalities have stepped up their game this year, planning to hand out more intriguing gifts to voters before the March 30 municipal elections, including diapers, lighters, pitta bread and ayran (a drink made of yoghurt and water).

An Ankara district municipality held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to distribute 60,000 domestic matches as gifts, while another district municipality in Kocaeli province will distribute diapers. 

Municipalities have been opening tenders in past five months for such gifts and widely consider them social relief work. 

Kocaeli’s Çayırova Municipality opened a tender for “diapers as part of social relief work,” before deciding to change it to a “new born baby aid package as part of social relief work.” The AKP’s Altındağ Municipality in Ankara purchased 60,000 matches in a tender opened in December 2013, paying 84,000 Turkish Liras.

Tender opened to distribute food stams

The same municipality has also opened another tender to distribute food stamps to those in need. According to the tender, completed on Nov. 6, 2013, the municipality paid 124,068 liras for the food stamps. 

Keçiören Municipality, also in Ankara, has opened a tender to buy 28,000 pitta breads and 28,000 bottles of ayran, which will be completed in the upcoming days. The procured goods will be distributed to addresses determined by the Keçiören Municipality, according to the terms of the tender. 

Tuzla municipality, located in the south of Istanbul, has decided to give out watches to its voters as a gift before the elections. The tender for the watches, completed late last year, says the municipality paid 144,000 liras.

A total of 4,000 bicycles will be given to children as a gift from the İzmit Metropolitan Municipality, which splashed out 796,000 liras on the project.

Istanbul’s Çekmeköy municipality, however, has opted for more everyday gifts, including 5,000 journals, 7,000 wall calendars, 2,000 clocks, 2,000 pens, 16,000 ties, 1,000 kerchiefs, 1,000 scarfs, 1,000 umbrellas. The total cost came to 639,000 liras.

Meanwhile, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality has distributed clothes, including 4,000 items of lady’s underwear, 1,000 belts, 1,000 pants for women, 500 pants for men and 5,000 bags.