President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent victory in the Turkish presidential elections has been marred by controversy as he was caught on camera allegedly distributing money to voters at a polling station. The incident, which appears to violate election laws, has raised concerns about the integrity of the electoral process.
Despite the controversy, President Erdogan secured another five-year term with 52 percent of the vote in the closely contested run-off elections. The preliminary count revealed his victory, extending his rule that has spanned over two decades.
The incident occurred earlier on election day when President Erdogan cast his ballot in Uskudar, an Istanbul neighborhood known for its conservative leanings. Supporters flocked around him, expressing their admiration and chanting slogans. In a surprising turn of events, the president was seen pulling cash from his jacket pocket and handing a 200-lira banknote (equivalent to £8) to an elderly woman wearing a headscarf. He proceeded to distribute more money to others in the crowd.
Legal experts have pointed out that recent changes in legislation have made it more challenging to identify and prosecute such violations during campaigns. Election authorities have not commented on the widely shared video, but they have asserted that no serious violations occurred during the Sunday vote.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) praised the well-conducted second round of voting, highlighting the availability of genuine political alternatives for voters. However, the OSCE also criticized the increasingly inflammatory and discriminatory language used during the campaign.
he president’s election night speech further stirred controversy as he targeted the country’s LGBTQ+ community. Mr. Erdogan listed several opposition parties and questioned their stance on LGBTQ+ issues. He vowed to protect traditional family values throughout his time in office, declaring that no one could slander the institution of the family.
The remarks left parents of LGBTQ+ individuals concerned and anxious about the future. Many expressed worries about the increasing hostility and discrimination faced by the community. The ruling party’s recurrent hate speech has fueled tensions and led some families to contemplate sending their children out of the country in search of a more accepting environment.
Sema Yakar, founder of LISTAG, an NGO supporting parents of LGBTQ+ children, voiced her alarm over President Erdogan’s speech. She emphasized the importance of protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from targeting and criticized the government for using the community as a scapegoat to divert attention from other pressing issues.
The incidents surrounding the alleged cash distribution and discriminatory rhetoric have raised questions about the democratic process and the protection of minority rights in Turkey. As the nation moves forward, these concerns and the need for a fair and inclusive society remain at the forefront of public discourse.