The present report has been prepared based on the observations of monitoring delegations from 21 different countries during the Election Day on 1st November 2015. First of all a summary political background is presented. Following the practical arrangements, some of the common findings of the delegations are highlighted and finally the summary observation of each delegation is presented.
Political background:
Turkey has been passing through turbulent times since the President Erdogan denied the Dolmabahçe declaration in March 2015 short after its declaration in February 2015 which was jointly done by the HDP MPs and the Government members. The declaration was pointing out the principles of a possible peaceful, democratic and stable country. The denial of Dolmabahçe declaration by The President Erdoğan was regarded as the end of the resolution which has been continuing since the beginning of 2013. According to many, the decision was intentionally and strategically done in the context of the AKP’s electoral campaign, by the Government and the President Erdoğan, because the legislative elections of 7 June were approaching and the opinion polls were showing a dramatic decrease for the AKP. The AKP lost the majority in the parliament at the 7 June elections. The meetings between the Republican People’s Party – CHP and the AKP to form a coalition government remained resultless and than the President Erdoğan declared snap elections for 1st of November. Starting from April 2015 till 1st November, three murderous attacks (in Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara) basically targeted the Kurds and left wing people, took place; curfews were imposed on a dozen of cities and districts; HDP Party Buildings and party members were attacked and many HDP party members were imprisoned among other kind of anti-democratic/murderous practices, while the government remained silent against all these practices by acting reluctant in bringing those responsible before the justice. Being aware of all these uneven and murderous practices committed by Daesh and some other dark groups, the HDP had to cancel its electoral campaign.
However, as the previous experiences from elections extensively proved the electoral frauds as well as irregularities, the transparency and fairness of the elections was of upmost importance. It is because of this reason that, following the announcement of the snap elections by the President, the HDP co-presidents Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş and Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ, made a call on 4 September 2015, for independent international delegations to monitor the elections. More than 300 people, including, members of parliaments, politicians, political activists, lawyers, trade unionists and academics among others, from 21 different countries formed delegations and travelled to basically Kurdish eastern cities of Turkey, where many electoral frauds, irregularities and intimidations were observed during previous elections.
The delegations were divided in groups in order to effectively execute their mission. Each group was provided with a translator/interpreter and/or a local guide/driver.
Common Findings:
The delegations that visited various cities have recorded different kind of irregularities and electoral frauds. Here below are some of the common findings that reported by almost all of the delegations which, in other words, represent the general conditions under which the elections were hold.
– The delegation members who had also observed 7 June elections have reported as a general observation that the general conditions under which the elections carried out were tenser and less transparent than the previous one.
– Water cannons, armoured vehicles and other riot control equipments, riot police, gendarmeries, village guards, were present, as well as police and other armed groups carrying assault rifles right in front of the schools and in very close distance to the polling stations. The regulation of 15-meters-distance from polling stations for the security forces has not been respected. These practices of the state security forces are a clear evidence of intimidation.
– As reported by the French delegation in Gaziantep and many other regions, the party members of the HDP who were supposed to carry out the electoral campaign had been arrested during the electoral campaign.
– Both the international observers and the observers from political parties were denied access to some of the polling stations where the possibility of frauds is quite high. In other cases, as showed by the German delegation in Erciş district of Van, the observers were not allowed into the Justice Palace (Adalet Sarayı) where the results of each polling station are added to online system of the Supreme Electoral Board (Yüksek Seçim Kurulu – YSK).
– As reported by the German delegations in Batman and other electoral regions, it was observed that in many electoral regions there was no public access to the counting of the votes. Police threatened people to leave the place.
– It’s been observed that the displacement of ballot boxes by the decision of the District Electoral Boards negatively affected the voting, since, as the case in Lice shows, some voters had to come from 22 km away to cast their votes.
– The International observers and voters were filmed, threatened, aggressively questioned, intimidated and their pictures were taken by the police without permission.
– The road from Bingöl to Lice, which some 3.000 voters coming from the villages were supposed to travel in order to reach the polls (alternative roads existed but were slow and difficult to drive), was closed by the army. The army said some mines had exploded during the night on that road and that there could be other mines. After HDP representatives went on site and put pressure, the road reopened. It remained closed for about two hours from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
– The buildings where the polling stations were located were not appropriate for disabled people
City: Gaziantep
District/village: different districts and villages
Delegation from: France
Josiane Durrieu
Leo Purguette
Tomas Ludovic
Isabelle Pasquet
Marion Honde
The observer delegation from Marseille gathered six members including one journalist of the daily « La Marseillaise », two elected from Marseille and a syndicalist. We have been to Gaziantep. We arrived there on the saturday october 30th 2015, by the morning at 8,30 am , the city seemed quiet but it was only an appearance. The pressure was high, the atmosphere was strained, the day before, on friday october 29th 2015, 17 activist of the HDP had been arrested. The same day took place an attempted attack of Daesh to a police station but the bomb didn’t exploded and the two members of Daesh had been arrested.
Since the June 7th elections more than 300 active members of the HDP had been arrested. After the Ankara’s attempts, they had to cancel all the meetings, the meeting that should had take place in Gaziantep on october 18th had been canceled because they learned an attempt was coming. The demonstration planed for the day before the elctions had also been canceled. All the campaign took place under threaten of Daesh, in an atmosphere strained, without any public initiative and any place in the media.
The day of the elections we separed ourselves in two groups. We noticed that the army wasn’t on the street but police were on the schools where polling stations are. Our group could enter all the polling stations on the poor district of Sehit Kamil and a more chic area,
We visited the following the 6 schools served as polling station :
The primary school of Mevlava : in the poor disctrict of Sehit Kamil. High school of Namik Kemal in
Sehit Kamil. The high school Karaoglan , the high school Ali Kunculu, the high school Mahmut Humayum Ozhelvaci, at Sehit Kamil and the school Samye Teymir.
The second group was on the district of Sahinbey, poor area on 7 schools, the could enter only in four of them, on the other 3 ones, the police in front of the buildings didn’t let them in.
We noticed that the AKP activist were many in the schools, all had distinctive sign, a yellow pen, some of them followed us when we got in the polling station. In an office of the high school Mahmut Humayun, three womens who had the yellow pen of AKP were sitting there and they were not even assessors of the office.
In the station of the high school Karaoglan, only 30% of participation against 50 % in the other places at the same time.
The police was at the entrance of the schools, we haven’t been checked except at the school Namik Kemal. And the electors in general weren’t checked except in the school Mevlava. In only one school police officers on uniform were present inside the building.
In the school Samye Teymur located on the district of Sehit Kamil not fare from an office of the HDP, we noticed 6 policemans in front of the main entrance, 19 in the garden with a equiped van, 6 in the building hall and 4 per floor, so 39 of them, and we could identify three who were in civil. The police on the up floors were of course at 15 metters of the polling stations, legal distance.
Concerning the urns in all the stations, they were transparents but closed with a wax sealed, no lock, no keys.
The assessors of the HDP were present in all the stations with the other three main party, AKP, CHP, MHP (MHP was absent in one office.)
The participation to the election was important even with the police presence and the attempts that took place before the elections, but all of this in a strained atmosphere.
City: Batman
District/village: various polling stations
Delegation from: Germany
– Darius Niepel
– + other delegates
Yavuz Selim Ilkokulu and Ortaokulu
Normal policemen are controlling the entrances, independant observers are not allowed to enter the polling station.
School does not seem to be barrier-free from the outside.
After discussion with lawyers and the police, the enterin is prohibited due to missing proof.
Electoral district 2147
A man enters the polling booth with several women. After instruction of helpers, the election is being held correctly.
Petrol Ilkokulu
Normal policemen are controlling the entrances, independant observers are not allowed to enter the polling station.
School does not seem to be barrier-free from the outside.
Mayis Ortaokulu
Observers are searched entering the building. Police is checking every ID.
They stayed in the polling room until they get send out. It was very crowded, therefore there was some scrambling.
Atatürk Lisesi/Polling district 2117-2123
Not barrier-free. IDs of observers are checked and police takes photos of every ID.
Ziya Gokalp Ortaokulu
Local HDP reports that the AKP is exercising property rights and threatens to expulse the members of the HDP. They are not successful.
Mesliki Ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi
Police is located in and in front of the building; the regulation of 15-metre-distance is respected.
School is not barrier-free. After ID-check, we are escorted out of the building.
Fatih Anadolu Lisesi/ polling district 1368-80
Observers of the election are not allowed to enter.
Adem Ilic / polling district 1143-56
It’s overcrowded. Election board says that observers are present against the regulations. Therefore, we have to leave.
Petrol Ortaokulu
Second try, IDs are checked, entry is prohibited.
Police forces a boy by violence to leave the area, screaming and tumult. Named reason: the boy smoked in front of the building. Documented on video.
District Gültepe/ Gültepe Ilkokulu
No public access to the counting. The gate is closed. Documented on photos.
Young people tell that they had been threatened by police to leave the place. Only access to building for police and election board.
City: Batman
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: Germany
– Johannes Zimmermann
– + other delegates
1. Local situation
On the eve of election day during a meeting with local HDP officials and other activists we were told that:
• around 108 civilians were killed by police forces in the last three months in eastern parts of
• three local mayors in Batman and near by were deposed and arrested and still not back in office
• there was only one week in which the HDP in Batman could prepare and campaign
• Government’s new electoral law which disposed a merging of places of election could cause chaos and trouble on election day
2. Election observation (given in local time, two groups of election observers)
• 08:15am – 08:45am Yavuz Selim Ilkokulu & Yavuz Selim Ortaokulu
Police forces are monitoring the doorways to the polling stations. Among the regular police officers in formal uniform there are plain-clothed men, one of them with a loaded submachine gun.
After entering the schoolyard, some of the police officers are blocking the way. The election observers may not enter the polling station. One officer explains (in English and Turkish) that he is instructed to hold back all (German) election observers who aren’t mandated by major German political parties. His instructions, he proceeds, are the result of a judicial decision but he is not able to show any kind of official document. After prolonged discussions (reference to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, among others) with the support of a lawyer and an HDP official the situation is still the same: election observers are not allowed to approach the building.
• 08:30am Constituency 2147
A man accompanied several women into the voting booth. After this problematic behavior was pointed out by local HDP deputies, he stopped it.
• 08:30am Constituency 2145-52
Election observers were controlled by the police. Electoral Board followed us attentively. For some time our presence was tolerated but finally police pushed us out of the building.
• 09:00am
HDP Local representatives and lawyers estimates that 20 percent of voters cannot find the right place of election because of wrong or incomplete polling cards. Because of the disposed merging of places of election, people cannot find the right ones. Places used in former times were closed and references to new and more distant election places were missing so that at least in the morning a lot of people could not vote.
• 9:30am Mayis Ortaokulu (Constituency 2124-2137):
Election observers were scanned upon entering the building and ID cards were checked. Police was present in a polling station but left on request. The place of election was very crowded, thus scrum and turmoil originated.
• 09:35am Petrol Ilkokulu & Petrol Ortaokulu
Same situation like at “Yavuz Selim” polling station. The police officers in formal uniform don’t even ask for any document or identification cards. The entering of the buildings is not allowed for foreign election observers.
The entrance area of all buildings are not handicapped-suited.
• 10:00am Atatürk Lisesi (Constituency 2117-2123):
Some police men with guns in front of the building. Disabled people need to agonize to the upper floors. After leaving we were controlled by civil police and personal details of election observers monitored and photographed.
• 11:00am Ziya Gokalp Ortaokulu:
The only one of all visited election places with Disability Access in terms of elevators at the entrance and inside the building.
• 11:15am Ziya Gokalp (Constituency 1354-58):
HDP representatives mentioned that AKP member tried to exercise domiciliary rights in order to kick them out. After a turmoil they could averted this. Police dissolved a crowd in front of the building.
• 11:15am – 11:35am Mesliki Ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi
Police forces and armored-vehicles in front of the of the building. More police officers inside of the building. Multiple times they are less than 15 meter away from the ballot boxes and the voting booths.
There are waiting queues in the (to some extent) crowded floors. Some disabled and older poeple rely totally on the help of others to reach the upper floors by stairs.
A lot of the official election envelopes (for the the ballot cards) within ballot boxes are not sealed. While the entering of the school building was unnoticed by the police officers at the entrance, the election observers are ordered out of the building after an identity check by one police officer.
• 11:30am Fatih Anadolu Lisesi (Constituency 1368-80):
Election observers were not let in without even a conversation or checking the ID cards!
City: Bingöl
District/village: Different districts and villages in Bingöl
Delegation from: Norway
– Minoo Kofoed
– Turid Kjernlie
– Turid Thomassen
– Thomas Buikes Fjærtoft
– Arnljot Ask
– Siavash Mobasheri
– Annik Borthen
– Jorun Guldbrandsen
– Aksel Hagen
Group 1: BOLGE (Sudugunu-Sancak-Kigi-Adakli-Yaladere)
Report from Minoo Kofoed and Turid Kjernlie, Norway,
Translater: Duygu Cakan.
We visited 13 schools, and in front of all except from one there were armed Turkish police or soldiers in uniforms on the school yards outside the schools.
1) At the first school we visited (07:10 AM), the ballot boxes had been brought in too late and were thus not ready when we arrived. There were two voting rooms in the school, none of them were ready.
2) The second school we visited (07:30 AM), Sudügünü Eski Koy Ilkolu, there were two armed soldiers inside of the ballot box room. Also here the ballot boxes were brought in too late and were not ready when we arrived.
3) The third school we visited (07:40 AM) in Sancac, there were no curtains in neither of the two voting rooms so it was technically possible to see what people were voting. Also here there was an armed soldier in the ballot box area.
4) In front of the Hasbaglar Orta Okul (08:40 AM) there were armed civilians outside the school. This was also the case at Ak Birik Zermek village house (10:00 AM).
5) In the Yatili Bölge Orta Kolulu (10:44 AM), there were three voting rooms, of which two were not sealed properly (box nr. 1008 and box nr.1009).
6) In one of the schools (I didn’t write the name down), a man who seamed to be come kind of a clan leader took completely control of the voting. When we arrived there were two people behind the voting curtains. The man didn’t want the women (perhaps 20 in the small voting room, in addition to perhaps 30 men) to vote, and the reason he gave was that they did not know how to read or write. The athmosphere was very tense in the room. The man shouted angrily at us and told us that we had no right to be there, it was unconfortable, but we stayed. Several times several people (a woman accompanied by a man) would visit the voting room behind the curtains together. Some people had many ID-cards that they gave to the voting committee, and it seamed as if they would vote on behalf of other family members (however, this is a bit ambiguous, the situation was difficult to interpret). The clan leader took the ID-cards, read up the names, gave the voting papers to the women and pointed at AKPs logo at the voting sheets to tell the ladies what party to vote for. We stayed in the room until the tension decreased, it took about 30 minutes. The situation was very chaotic. It seamed as if our presence made the situation better.
7) The last school we visited, (I didn’t write the name down), we were stopped by armed men in civil claiming to be police (but they never showed us any prove that they were actually police), they had a hostile attitude and demaned to see our passports and our HDP cards, they said what we were doing was illegal, and discussed very long with our wonderful translator who handled the situation very
calmly and professionally. At least 10 men were with the civilian ´police´/village guards, and a police car eventually showed up. After a while we were let go without any further problems, but the situation was uncomfortable.
Group 3: BOLGE (Merkez – Cavuslar):
Report from Turid Thomassen and Thomas Buikes Fjærtoft, Norway
at Turkish Election November 1, 2015 –Bengöl.
Translater: Heval Diren Tas
We visited multiple schools on the November 1 Election Day, but two schools stood out.
We arrived at 07.00 am and we where not aloud to observe the election before our translator had called a lawyer and where then aloud to observe from the hallway. We where denied entry into the rooms where the election took place. Between 07.30 -08.00 am we observed at least three persons voting while caring a visible automatic weapons. By the entrance we observed armed village guards standing in the entrance. There was quite a tense atmosphere.
Returning at 14.00 we where denied entry even though our interpreter made it clear that it was our right to inspect once again. After negotiating for a few minutes we left the school.
When we arrived at the school we where denied entry into the hallway. We observed that one door was closed into where the ballot was cast before we where asked harshly to leave. The atmosphere was tense and we did not feel welcome.
The rest of the schools …. We visited we where warmly welcomed and invited into the voting aria. We where served tea and apples and allowed to observe as long as we wished. At the last school we visited #, we where also aloud to observe the counting of the votes. Our impression was that it was a transparent process.
At all the locations we visited we did not meet one woman working at the schools in connection with the election.
We wish to so say thanks for being able to observe this election.
Independent Norwegian electoral observers
Turid Thomassen, Norway
Thomas Buikema Fjoertoft, Norway
Group 4 a: BOLGE (Genc-Zikte)
Report from election observer Arnljot Ask, Norway Nov 1th 2015
in Genc and Zikte district Bingøl.
I was accompanied by translator Sadullah Koc
First poll station in the outskirts of Genc ( Koc knows the name of the school):
-Voting areas seemed to be OK, as we inspected two of them.
-Afterwards I was interrogated by security officers from AK Party on my identity and why I was there. I presented myself as from Norway, working with international affaires and having observed elections in several countries. Even if they seemed to be suspicious and without any cordiality, I was treated polite without any harassments.
Afterwards we went to three schools in smaller villages up in the mountaines in Zikte:
-The first place we did not observe any irregularities, and was also welcome as observers.
-The next one we also could observe the voting which seemed to be arranged according to the rules.
One remark here is that there were quite many soldiers, one with a visible weapon, and civil guards, placed overlooking the entrance of the voting building, although not obstructing the entrance. But number of guards seemed to be overseized compared to voters visiting.
-Similar situation for the third place, only here fewer police compared to civil guards.
Then we were called to go to a polling station there the HDP-representative in the election Board had been attacked and beaten.
It took some time before we reached there, so someone from the partyoffice of HDP was there then we arrived. They reported that the problem was solved and another HDP-observer had replaced the one beeing insulted. Since this incident then should have been reported, we did not go to the voting area and went back to the office in Genc, waiting for further calls.
Around 1230 am we were called to go back to a remote village up in Zikte, named Bayirli:
-Reported irregual voting by seemingly arranged voting in groups. Quarrels in the Election Board because of this. Lawyers also had been called to the village.
We went to the village together with three more from the HDP-office. On our way we met a lawyer from Diyarbakir who alreday had visited the school, so this incident should already be in your file.
We stayed at the school for more than half an hour, untill around 2.45 p.m to observe, inside the voting room several times. The dispute with the head of the Election Board continued while we were there, but me and Mr Koc did not take part in this.
I could not see collective voting by several persons entering the individual zone together, while I was in the room. There was a claim that this had occured earlier. However it was obvious that many voters came in groups to the school and entered the voting room in crowds. Partly this was natural, since familes came together walking long distances, and I guess the habitt is that families vote as the head of the family does. But it also seemed that the mobilization of voters was strong. At the 2.30
p.m around 200 out of 260 already had casted their vote. And there was a big crowd of people around the entrance of the voting area all the time. But no soldiers or police.
We were treated well, although with reservation, and could enter the voting room without any objections.
Arnljot Ask
Group 4 b (Genc – Sivan)
Report from election observer Siavash Mobasheri and Annik Borthen, Norway Nov 1th 2015
in Genc, Sivan and 3 poll stations in Merkez Bingøl
We was accompanied by translator Fırat Ömeroğlu in Genc and Sivan.
First poll stations was in the outskirts of Genc – three schools in smaller villages up in the mountaines in Sivan (Omeruglu knows the name of the school):
 The first place we did not observe any irregularities, and was also welcome as observers Voting areas seemed to be OK.
 We was treated polite without any harrasments. But we observed that the voting room/areas was separeted between HDP in one building, and the other parties in the other.
 The next one we also could observe the voting which seemed to be arranged according to the rules.
 We observeed one armoured personnel carrier (APC) parked in front of the school, a secondary school in Sivan.
 In the third place, we remark that there were quite many soldiers, two with a visible AK47, and guards placed overlooking the entrance of the voting building, although not obstructing the entrance. But we was treated polite without any harrasments
Around 11:30 am we were back to the hotel in Bingöl. We were asked by a HDP representative if we wanted to observe several schools in Bingöl, and we accepted the offer. We visited three schools, and unfortunately we do not remember the name of HDP representative.
1. End Striking meslek Lisesi
2. Sheida Mustafa
3. Market Ozal (?)
Our interpreter was for inexplicable reasons short-tempered at the first school. He presented us as parliamentarians from Norway. We thought that this was wrong, because we wanted to be seen as independent election observers from Norway. Our interpreter’s behavior at the polling station and presentation of us, led to the AKP representatives reacted to this in a little nice way. Our interpreters and AKP representatives discussed a while, and the atmosphere was irritably. Because of the unnecessary confrontation between our interpreter and AKP representatives, we felt not safe. Fortunately, the “dispute” was before the police showed up.
We gave a short feedback to the interpreter on our views, and that he could not behave like that. Our interpreter put not only himself at risk, but also us. Fortunately he accepted the constructive feedback, and calmed down.
This incident caused that we the observators was stressed, and made the observation poorer. But generally speaking, we observed no irregularities in this three schools.
Siavash Mobasheri
Group 5 SOLHAN (Merkez, Melekan)
 Mehmet Kurt, interpreter and driver
 The local HDP leader
 Observers: Jorun Guldbrandsen and Aksel Hagen, from Norway
We were very well received by the local HDP organization and their volunteers in Solhan. We were also well received at most of the election places, especially in the city center. Overall it seemed as if the election was conducted in line with legislation and regulations, as far as we could judge. However, we did not conduct very detailed/specific controls.
Mehmet was the chief speaker – introduced us and our mission, asked questions etc, while Jorun and Aksel most greeted, looked, listened. Mehmet did this in a clear, calm and trustworthy manner.
We realize that the HDP leader was important to identify the polling stations. At the same time, this contributed to that, maybe we became too much tied up to HDP when we arrived the polling station.
1060, in the city center at about 0715 (The polling station for Mehmet)
Nothing to remark. We got access to the classroom/the polling station.
1062, mountain village, at about 0845
10 – 12 village police very visible outside the building. AKP flags close to the polling station. Otherwise nothing to remark. We got access to the classroom/the polling station.
1063, mountain village, at about 0930
7 – 10 village police/soldiers very visible outside the building, a few also in the room outside the classroom/polling station. There were very many people inside the classroom, and they were very nervous when we arrived. We were all four immediately pushed out of the classroom and the building, while several of them yelled loudly and threatening. We are unsure whether it was a HDP representative there or not.
1058, mountain village, at about 1030 (The village to AKP’s third candidate)
10 – 12 village police/soldiers very visible outside the building, two by the door, one in the small room just outside the polling room. We were allowed to look into the polling room. AKP flags.
1067, mountain village, at about 1100 (A larger school building – Yenisbasak)
Nothing to remark. We got access to the classroom/the polling station
1031 – 1036, just outside the city center, at about 0130
Nothing to remark. We got access to the classroom/the polling station
1006 – 1008, in the city center, at about 0200
Nothing to remark. We were allowed to look into the polling room.
Aksel Hagen
City: Bingöl
Delegation from: UK – Switserland
– Eva Käser Switserland
– Isabel Käser – London
Election Observation Report, Group 6: Karliova
On 1 November, Eva and Isabel Käser from Switzerland observed the elections in and around Karliova. Together with Orhan Sayak and Maslum from the local HDP branch we visited the villages Hacilar, Segnis, Boran, Reizon, Çewlig, Ognit, Toglan, Kanires, Sirok, Xerxebazar, Cakak, Uncelik, Viransehir, Komet, Hunya, and Sevik.
In most polling stations we were welcomed into the classrooms to observe for a few minutes, introduce ourselves and ask questions. While some members of the election committee were less keen to have us there, none of them reported any problems.
Maslum was constantly on the phone with his colleagues and guided us where he felt we were needed. Around 10am for example we heard that AKP’s candidate Yusuf Coşkun was touring the same villages as we were (around Cakak), asking people what they voted and attempting for his security personal to vote in these villages. We followed him, saw him in three villages but did not observe any violations ourselves. However, in two incidences when we entered a school after him,
people seemed very agitated, complaining about his behaviour. One voter took us aside and asked us to stay in the area until after 16.00 o’clock, ‘I am worried that they will steal our votes’, he told us.
In two cases security personal who were inside the school asked to see our passports but let us move freely around the school after they checked them. In most cases there were village guards or security forces around the schools, sitting in close proximity to the entrance but not blocking it.
Our general impression in the short time that were spent in every village, was that the elections were held unobstructed. Towards the end of the day, tensions in and around the schools increased, we heard reports of fights and confrontations but did not see them ourselves. In the last hour, people started assembling in the hallways to observe the counting process themselves, seeming generally nervous and worried about the process. However, we did not observe any confrontations or irregularities at that stage either.
City: Şırnak
District/village: Cizre
Delegation from: Germany – Italy
– Eva Klippenstein
– Erasmo Palazzotto
– Franco Bordo
– + two other delegates
When we entered the school buildings where the selection process was going on, there were lots of people and few chance for mutual information to each other and it happened that we lost each other for a short time because everybody wanted to get in touch with us. Although we protested against the armed police inside the polling region which was permanent and obvious visible and appealed to the International standards, we heard that their presence were necessary because the members and adherents of the political parties would constantly fight against each others. We also were aware of people who used their telephone inside the selection cabin, obviously in order to testify their votes.
In one school we witnessed a huge amount of people searching their registration which was missed because they were forced to leave their lodging after the armed attacks during the latest month.
City: Dersim (Tunceli)
District/village: different districts and villages
Delegation from: France
Maryvonne MATHEOUD
We starded visiting 5 poll places early by 9am (within the 39 of Dersim) et 13 polling stations . ( no 1111 1112 1064 1065 1067 1004 1002 1061 1062 1057 1058 1067 1068 ).
Because of the time there were not many people in the pollign stations. Policemans in civil and in uniforms in front of each place of poll and three police agents in uniform in the entrance of one polling station. Fully equiped police cars or tanks in front of each polling place.
Concerning the observation of the ballot we didn’t notice suspect things. Each elector passed on the voting booth, a acquittance roll was there, the list of the electors was at the entrance hall, the urn was sealed.
We met observers from the HDP in one of the polling stations.
The electors gave vote with their signature or with fingerprints.
We saw three old persons getting to the voting booth with a family member.
A station president called back the legislation.
By 9,15am we had been checked by three civil police officers when we went out.
At 10,10 am three other agents in civil told us that we weren’t on the list of international observers and without any authorization we couln’t continue our visits.
After asking Fidan who told us not to provocate by continuing the visits, we accepted and went to the headquarter of the HDP.
They told us to go to the courthouse with a lawyer to meet the judge, what we did but without any succes.
After a little stop, we went to approximatively 10km from Dersim to take Serdar, our interpret, to his polling station. In front of the school two tanks are in position and 8 soldiers at least come to us when we got there.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Sur
Delegation from: UK
– Lord Hylton
– Margaret Owen
– + other delegates
Lord Hylton election observation report
Sur, Diyarbakir.
Witnessed several security forces vehicles around the district and next to polling stations, including Landrovers (Types 21 A 0224, 0225) and armoured vehicles, with a top-mounted machine gun (Type 21 A 0957, 1007, 0999). Some of these had “Cobra” marked on the body. Usually they were operating in pairs, with one Landrover and one armoured car.
At one polling station at a school, two of those vehicles were removed from the schoolyard and parked outside.
At a school next to the markets, plain clothes agent No. 2372 explained to us that the vehicles could not be moved out because they would block the narrow roadways. This pair of vehicles was neatly tucked in at the end of the school. (Iskander Pasha [?])
Altogether the visit went well and we had a simply splendid woman interpreter.
Margaret Owen: Observations monitoring the election in Diyarbakir
The polls opened at 8 a.m and closed at 5 pm in the west, but here the hours of voting were from 7 am to 4pm, and it was expected that some voters, especially the old and illiterate, would get to their voting venue too,late. Here are just some of the concerns we had about the fairness and transparency if this election.
1. The presence of armed police and of armoured tanks within the school precincts. Police were not, under the election management rules, allowed to enter the rooms where people came to vote, nor park armoured tanks within the school playgrounds, In 3 of the 5 schools, the tanks were there, surrounded by police with their fingers on the trigger.
2. The tension and the fear the presence of the armed police was palpable. For the people were still traumatised by the violence of the police raids, the bombing and shootings of September in Cizire and Sur, and the deeply distressing and unjustifiable desecration of Kurdish cemeteries. We were told that many residents, registered to vote here, had left the area as their houses were destroyed, or they were too frightened to stay. These poor people did not return to vote, partly because such a journey would be expensive, because they had lost faith in the process and also because they were frightened.
3. The police, in one school where they refused to move their tanks to the road outside claimed that they were ” defending the people as this district was a terrorist zone” and that their armoured tanks would,block traffic if parked in the lanes outside . There were rumours that police snipers were staking out positions on school roof tops, which impelled some of the people to break down a locked door on the top floor and go up to ensure no police were up there. This reaction indicated the intensity of the fear among the voters.
4. We learnt that the AKP had flooded the villages with money bribes and with white goods, to “buy” votes. We heard several.accounts of intimidation, threats to take away benefits, jobs, etc. unless they voted for the AKP.
5 . Although the abolition of the Village Guards was one of the several conditions set out in the Copenhagen criteria ( for accession to the EU) , last month the Government appointed another 5,000 village guards, these people would have been used to bolster support for the AKP,in the rural areas, using any means they chose.
6. Shortly before the election, it was ordered that there should be ” consolidation of the ballot boxes” . In some towns,and villages deemed areas of violence and instability the boxes would be removed and residents there would need to travel to wherever their boxes had been relocated. Illiteracy, poverty, and transport problems were likely to have caused some loss of votes for the HDP as in every polling booth room there were many registered to vote who failed to turn up. Or maybe they came after 4 pm, not realising that the clocks in the South East were still on summer time.
7. We were never refused entry to the schools nor to the voting rooms, and indeed were greeted warmly by the municipal officials who were managing the voting process. People were frightened that the police would target them if they saw them talking to our delegation. The HDP and the Human Rights Association told us ” make your presence known” and we did. But monitoring elections for fairness and transparency really requires observers to be around some weeks before and some days after. We only had 2 days , so our observations were necessarily limited.
Our principal concerns on the day of the election was the heavy presence of the armed police and the tanks in places they should not be, if elections are to be fair, and voters are not intimidated.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Hani and Kocaköy / Surrounding villages
Delegation from: Italy

Hani and 5 surrounding rural communities: In general we witnessed an impressive display of military force with armoured cars and soldiers in almost any poll except the one with a tradition of loyalty to the AKP. We have witnessed also to the presence of armed “rural guards” in the most secluded polling place. We saw a military presence in the doorsteps of any polling place and sometimes also inside. In Hani, while the counting was still on in some sections, armed police was inside the school and they escorted (likely by request of the eletoral section president) the ballots.
In Sergen we had a report that members of the AKP threathened the scrutineers by taking pictures of them and telling they will remember them if they didn’t ottain the outcome they expected. In many station the husbands escorted their wifes during the voting process. We had reports that in some rural polling stations somebody tried to vote two times. In more general terms we witnessed to a great deal of tension increased by the combat ready army, police and jandarma presence.
Kocaköy. High partecipation. During the morning almost everybody had already voted. In the area it was quite safe, except for some polling place in which the Police and the army tried to enter the polling stations, But They were repelled by the people standing there. Our presence as international observers was happily greeted by the scrutineers as a guarantee of transparence and democracy for the voters.
During the scutinizing, police tried to put presuure on the scrutineers, but they couldn’t do anything and they’ve been sent away.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Lice
Delegation from: Italy
– Lorenzo Bianchi – reporter
– + some other delegates
I was dispatched as international observer of the 1st November 2015 elections in Lice and in the surrounding area. The first school we visited was Anadolu Lisesi. In the seat n.1078 at 9,48 a.m. the president of the polling seat Orkan Babur Khan, 46, told us that only 20 per cent of the voters had cast their ballots. He was waiting for electors and he explained us that the seat had been moved from a village of the area. In a middle school, seat n.1017, the president told us that many people of surrounding villages were to come after 12 a.m. and that at the time we arrived there, around 10 in the morning, the citizens who had cast the ballots were 53 less than in the June 7th election. The seat n.1079 was empty. Nobody was there. The president stated that he had been told that 33 voters were on the way to arrive within an hour. In the courtyard we saw a Ford Transit minibus. Seventeen voters were on the vehicle. They told us that they were arriving from a village that was 22 km far from Lice. Meanwhile we were told that two policemen entered in the school with their weapons. A few minutes later somebody explained to us that they were escorting a judge who wanted to see all the polling stations located in the school. At the primary school Ataturk the man in charge of the seat
n.1019 told us that only ten electors on 296 had cast their votes. In the seat n.1020 100 on 180 had voted.
People we met there explained that they had to cope with a big confusion because the seats had been moved from villages to Lice for alleged security reasons. Many citizens did not know in which school they were expected to vote. While we were touring we got the news that the road from Bingol to Lice had been closed by the Army and that 3000 citizens of some villages were stopped because there was a mine. Some Hdp Parliament Members supposedly have gone there. The closure lasted 4 hours. The mine was exploded. We monitors were been given the picture of a big hole on our mobiles and I was told that a video too had been shot. We were also told that the mine was close to a check point of the Army. At one entrance of the Technical Professional school Ahmet Tuprak, at around 1 p.m., we saw two armored vehicles of the Gendarme. Two of us filmed them. An officer shouted that they were there because they were voting in the school. In the primary and middle school Zumrut Ferhat Mutlu, seat n.1043, 32 voters of two villages did not yet show at 2,35 p.m. In the same place we were told that in the morning a military man had asked to inspect the building. In Damlar, seat 1070, the turnout was 232 voters on 358. People manning the seat stated that many had left the village seeking for jobs in other regions of the country.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Lice
Delegation from: Italy
– Dorra Rizzardo
– + other delegates
I was assigned to the district of Lice.
Polls were located in 14 schools altogether, of which six in the town of Lice and the others in villages. Many people who resided in the villages had to vote in polls located in Lice, several kilometres far away from where they lived; polls for those people were moved from their villages to Lice for unspecified “security reasons”.
We encountered no problem in visiting the polls; we were allowed to walk in the polls, check how voting was being carried on and ask questions in all the schools and in all the polls we visited. Once we were asked for our cards as international observers.
Out of all the schools were armed policemen, some of them carried guns, some assault rifles. Most of the armed people staying out of the schools did not wear a uniform and it was not possible to identify them as members of security forces.
Armoured police or gendarme cars were parked outside four (out of eight) of the schools we visited, in the school courtyard or just outside it. In the village of Yaprakli, out of the school were voting was taking place, there was an armored car and an army tank. We visited this school in the afternoon and were informed that early in the morning soldiers had entered the school threatening the returning officers and the scrutineers saying they would non let them go anywhere with this “HDP thing”. This notwithstanding, turnout was 96% at 3:30 p.m.
The biggest difficulty that arose during the day was that the army closed the road from Bingöl to Lice, which some 3.000 voters coming from the villages were supposed to travel in order to reach the polls (alternative roads existed but were slow and difficult to drive). The army said some mines had exploded during the night on that road and that there could be other mines. After HDP representatives went on site and put pressure on the army in order for the road to be reopened, the one mine that was actually found was blown up and the road was reopened soon after. It remained closed for about two hours from 11:00 a. m. to 1:00 p.m..
During the count we visited only one school; we were allowed to attend counting operations and we saw they were being carried out correctly. We had no notice of trouble related to the count in the whole district.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Çermik
Delegation from: UK and Netherlands
– John Hunt – UK
– Ayşe Gül – UK
– Carla Van Os – NL- Reporter
We visisted the election committees at:
1. Çermik Primary school and
2. Çermik Anadolu Lisesi
3. Qarto
4. Bintaş
5. Gürüz
We watched the countings of the voting at Çermik Anadolu Lisesi
Irregulaties we came across:
Çermik Anadolu Lisesi
The school is full of armed officers. The president of one of the polling rooms is the local imam. I express my surprise at the fact that a religious leader plays such an important administrative function must also radiate at least the suggestion of independence. The imam says triumphantly that the AKP has made this possible by a change in legislation which says that imams are state employees too. Immediately after that we are soft but urgent hand pushed out.
In the hallway is waiting for us a rage AKP deputy, Beran Çelik, who still is campaigning. He is backed a large group of bodyguards behind him. He forces us to stand in a corner and puts off an intimidating argument about the undesirability of our presence. There is nothing to worry about. “This is a democratic country. So what are you looking for here?! Go to hell “As one of the observers said there are still some concerns about the elections in Kurdistan, he explodes:” Kurdistan yok!
Kurdistan yok! ” (There is no Kurdistan! There is no Kurdistan).
Observers head for Qarto, an idyllic village near Çermik. Military forces would have intervened in a dispute over the vote. Outside there is a handful of soldiers. The president the poll comity says that no problem has been there. If we insist and say that we’ve heard yet that he has asked for military help, he admits that there was an incident with someone who could not vote himselves. Outside observers take the man, the 77-year-old Yusuf and his son. Yusuf has never been to school. Because he was afraid he would not understand the ballot, he was asked the help of his son. According to the law only physically handicapped people, can be helped voting and even then not by family. But instead of that the man was helped, he had pushed the electoral stamp on his hand and was thrown out by the rushed military under the guise, “so you have voted now.”
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Çermik
Delegation from: Italy
– Sara Ainhoa – reporter
– + some other delegates
We visited 2 polling stations at Kulp city and 1 polling station at Aygün village, 2 hours from Kulp city. We took some photos and our translator should have all information.
Kulp City:
We noticed at least 2 policemen in civil clothing inside polling stationand at polling places (rooms).
Once voting recount finished, we checked the public paper put at polling station doors. This paper had been erased and numbers appeared rewritten.
Aygün village (Kulp District):
2 soldiers in uniform were patrolling with their rifles outside and inside polling station, with no respect of 15 meters distance rule. When we asked why were the soldiers there, polling station president (as he told us he was) answered that he asked for them to secure the place. We asked about the potential hazards, and he aswered that fighting between young people could happen. When we asked for other people’s opinion, they answered in the same way that the electoral president.
We counted 10 to 11 village guards or civilians carrying rifles inside and outside polling station.
16 video cameras inside and outside polling station recording all daylong The polling station president told us the number of cameras.
People there told us:
Due to heavy rains during last days and bad situation of the roads, a lot of people were not expected to come for voting.
No woman wants to participate as electoral table member. People told us that all women came together early and had already voted.
Other irregularity was the electoral propaganda during election day that an Italian friend received in his Turkish Cell mobile.
City: Diyarbakır
District/village: Kocaköy
Delegation from: Italy
– Giacomo Gianolla – Reporter
– + some other delegates
I saw some problems in two schools:
1) Ataturk primary school: I saw an armored car (Cadillac V150/S ?) staying in front of the school. There were also two white Police armored vehicles parked inside the courtyard.
As shown in the picture there was police and Gendarme at the door. The Gendarme officer came inside to check what we were doing (he was not called by the returning officer), and ordered us to go away. So we had to stay on the entrance stairs outside the school and after half an hour we went inside again.
There was also a plain clothes man carrying an AKM assault rifle that was clearly involved with police.
In this school there was a problem in one poll (first on the left at ground floor) during the count. Here there were seven more votes than voters. The returning officer said that he was allowed by the Court Election Office to take casually seven envelopes and to burn them. The fire produced a lot of smoke and the police came into the class and contested the procedure and there was a dispute. The AKP representative felt strengthened by the police and started to shout against us. A report was signed and it was taken away by the officers (a police Commissar and another one with not recognizable uniform that wore a tactical gilet with AKM magazines and tear gas ammo). After some minutes our group was sent away.
2) At the KOCAKÖY ÇOK PROGRAMLI LİSE (Lise Cd.) we were called by the HDP representative because of a police intimidation attempt with pointed firearms. At our arrival police fast exited before we need to do anything.
City: Siirt – Diyarbakır
Delegation from: UK
– Prof. David Graeber
– Cllr Aysegul Erdogan
– Elif Sarican
– Rebecca Coles
Observations: Report Written by Prof. David Graeber, Cllr Aysegul Erdogan, Elif Sarican & Rebecca Coles We arrived in Diyarbakir in the late hours of Friday 30th October. There was an uncomfortable quiet in much of the city, several streets lined up by armored vehicles. Whilst the previous election campaign was conducted amidst a festival feeling, the November 1 snap election lacked any normal signs of rallies or expected election campaigns. (The only thing that resembled a campaign event that we witnessed the entire time we were there was a group of chanting AKP supporters who marched down the street of Siirt, the night before the election, followed by a tank.) That evening we met with other observers from the UK, as well as members of the Swiss and Austrian teams. Some of stayed in Diyarbakir; another team set off for Siirt by car by the next morning, stopping briefly at Silvan, a municipality that had recently declared self-rule. The HDP office there was bustling with activity, and we were greeted warmly (with endless portions of tea), and given some background on the local situation. By mid-afternoon we had arrived in Siirt itself, where we met at the offices of Elif Akgül Ates, co-vice chair of the Municipal Authority. There we divided into three groups, each being assigned a different town for the next day’s polling observation. The team sent to Sirvan arrived the next morning around 10am. The town was calm, without a substantial military presence, with the HDP offices a beehive of activity. Endless portions of tea were served. The directors apologized for the run-down condition of the surroundings, explaining that alone among the major political parties, the HDP was systematically denied government campaign funding: since 2002, laws had to be changed on three different occasions in order to disqualify them. We visited two polling places in the town itself, and four in villages in the countryside around it. The two urban polling stations were calm, with police outside the buildings, and armored vehicles parked in the school playgrounds in one case, but otherwise we were told by the local HDP officials that everything was proceeding normally. We then visited the villages of Hesgo, Orek, Osyak, and [Turkish name] Nallikaya. In each of the first three, members of Village Guards units armed with automatic weapons were positioned ostentatiously outside the polling places. At Hesgo, we asked the armed men stationed at desks by the main door of the school why it was necessary to maintain an armed
presence: they replied that there was the danger of clashes between HDP and AKP voters, and that they were instructed to separate and thus protect both sides to any conflict. While on the road, we received reports from one village where HDP support was particularly strong, that voters were protesting the remov al of their polling station from the school, where it had always been in the past, to a distant health center, making it impossible for them to vote. Reportedly, no votes at all were cast from that particular village. At the final village on our itinerary, Nallikaya, we found not only Village Guards but armed Gendarmes, positioned inside the building at the door of the polling station. At this station we were at first allowed to observe the voting, but, after a local political representative approached the gendarme commander, were suddenly informed that our observer registration numbers did not match their list, andthat if we did not leave the premises immediately we would be subject to arrest. When the Sirvan HDP co-chair, who was present, asked the commander why he had been positioned inside the building contrary to law, he responded extremely aggressively accused her of lying and stated he had never been inside the building. The same day, our Diyarbakir team visited the DBP and HDP offices in the city, and met the DBP co-chair Ali Simsek, who gave us some background on the AKP’s military campaign in the city and Kurdish region more generally. We asked him where the other, female co-chair (Hafize Ipek) was, he explained she had been imprisoned for the last three months, accused of giving statements in support of the Kurdish movement. We subsequently met with two MPs for Diyarbakir – Caglar Demirel (HDP) and Ziya Pir (HDP), and Omur Onen and Gulsan Ozer, co-chairs of the HDP’s Diyarbakir Office. They explained the HDP was not able to conduct normal election campaigning as their hands were full supporting the wounded, and families of the killed, from the Ankara bombings. They also expressed concern about the placement of over 5000 “Village Guards” hired through AKP-controlled Ishkur (job centres) in rural communities throughout the province, and also noted the government’s refusal to provide normal campaign funds and the fact that rallies and other campaign events had become impossible for security reasons. Finally, they expressed serious concerns about the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK), who were named the chairs of the various polling committees – while members of NGOs and trade unions had been rejected from such positions, many of those named were local imams who are constitutionally forbidden to take such roles. 1,800 activists, journalists and elected officials, we were told, had been arrested since June, including 40 co-mayors, throughout the whole of the Kurdish regions. Our team proceeded to Çermik, where we visited six polling places, all located in schools, all surrounded by armed men. The largest was Çermik Anadolu Lisesi, where we encountered numerous police and gendarmes. Inside this particular school, we attempted to question the chair of the polling station, an imam, asking whether his presence was in accord with constitutional principles, the AKP MP candidate Beran Çelik, entered the room with a coterie of supporters, and protested our presence, saying in a very aggressive fashion “our country is a democratic country. We do not want you here.” As the conversation became heated, a crowd gathered behind him, and he insisted that we leave at once. The delegation attempted to de-escalate the situation, explaining that our presence was a normal procedure, but as larger numbers gathered and many began shouting at us, our HDP escort convinced us to withdraw. (We had just received news that one member of the HDP escort of another delegation had been arrested in a nearby town, and we feared for the safety of our own guides.)
Every school we visited in this region were “protection” by heavily armed government representatives, either soldiers, Village Guards, or both. General Reflections We heard numerous stories while we were in the region of various forms of pressure and intimidation wielded by government representatives to influence the vote. These ranged from reports of workers in state institutions or those with large state contracts being informed they would be fired if they did not vote AKP, to polling places being relocated “for security purposes” to inaccessible locations, to stories of Village Guards openly intimidating HDP voters, but being represented in the official press as PKK guerillas intimidating those who wished to vote for the AKP. According to these accounts, the bias of official institutions in favor of the ruling party was explicit on every level. For instance, in the June elections, the AKP granted itself $330 million for campaign expenses, and all other parties received such funds, except for the HDP, which received nothing. Even the MHP, which had in fact received a smaller share of the vote, was granted $100 million. All institutions were said to show a systematic bias against villages or neighborhoods known to be HDP strongholds: we were even told that municipal authorities would not collect the trash in such areas. One frequently mentioned problem was that the structure of government allowed for Ministerial Offices to override almost any decision made on lower levels, or for that matter, even constitutional principles (such as those banning any military presence in polling places) more or less at will – as a result, even when the HDP received 95% of the vote in certain districts, and all locally elected officials were HDP, ministerial representatives could simply overrule all local decisions rendering such elections effectively meaningless. This was one of the main reasons many such communities had made declarations of self-determination, which of course were represented as illegal uprisings by the Turkish state. Such declarations were regularly met with the imposition of curfews and sieges by the Turkish military, often leading to numerous casualties. We witnessed many neighborhoods where walls were pock-marked with bullet holes as a result of such operations. In conclusion, we were impressed by the determination of so many opposition voters to attend the polls despite what was clearly in many cases the clear intention of the government to discourage them from doing so, using both the implicit threat, and in some cases at least, the explicit use of physical violence.
City: Elazığ
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: France

We were there with an interpreter perfectly bilingual (French-Turkish) and one or few Turkish observers of the HRL (Human Rights League).
We were really welcome on the polling stations by the members of it.
We noticed (and took some pictures as evidences) a violation in all the polling stations :
People who carried the sign of AKP, wearing light blue ties, the police was present in front and inside the schools.
Police had step in one of the polling station : we asked them to go out.
Outside, they asked us some questions and followed us in many offices, to signal that it would be better that we stop our controls,
We didn’t face on and went checking a counting votes in an office (office 1181) .
235 votes under 330 registered. 178 for AKP.
It was hard to see that the votes were really for AKP or not because we were kept on a side.
We noticed the presence of a policeman on the counting. The president of the station said that he authorized his presence.
In the previous days we observed a fresh straining at DERSIM where police and army were really present and visible (checking points..).
The HDP activists said that they had to stop the electoral campaign after the attempts of Ankara, but the ways of information, TV, newspapers were really dedicated to AKP and president Erdogan for more than most of them.
The day before the election, one killed men and an injured women (2 arrests) in the side of the Kurds resistant at DERSIM .
City: Erzurum
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: Denmark
Pernille FRAHM
Serdal BENLİ
Bertil VIDET
Deniz BENLİ – Reporter
Generally, there has been a very tense atmosphere in this election, compared to the elections on the 7 June. The presence of the police, military, gendarmes and special-forces presence was very significant at this election.
We got a mixed reception by the authorities, where we among other things were refused access at some of the polling stations. As an example three of our observers were expelled from the village of Horazan. The police asked them to leave the city and if not, they would be arrested. Another group of observers, who were in the center of the village were also told to leave polling stations and there were during the day a more tense atmosphere towards the observers.
Two places, when observers were refused entrance, it triggered in particular to an argument between HDP representatives, the police and election officials Chairman.
HDP had up to the election had arrested over 150 of their responsible members, who in the last election had mobilized over 1,000 HDP-members. This systematic fight campaign against the Kurds was very clear in the area, since some polling stations were not represented by HDP-people.
In generally the police, special forces and military police were placed outside the polling stations, and in some cases you would find them inside the buildings, but not specifically in the rooms with the voting booths.
Our observers in Tekman and Karayazi were during their observations followed by two civilian police officers, who were filming them. Also here there was a massive presence of military and police. They were also refused access from some of the polling stations without responsible explanations.
There were up to the election put enormous psychological pressure on HDP. For instance, the AKP in the Alevi village of Yanikkaval had turned off the water and closed their healthcenter down because HDP had the majority of the votes the last election. Public employees were threatened with firing if they did not vote for AKP and even forced them to take a photo of their vote, as a prove for their employer.
At one of the polling stations in Köprüköy, more specifically Cullu Ilkokulu, four official-looking (suit and tie) young men appeared and presented themselves as officials, but in fact they could not prove this. After a long discussion they pulled out a document, which showed that they were observers from the AKP and not officials. They were placed – two in each room – right next to the boxes from the polling station from the opening of the election and intend to stay all day.
At the polling station at Asagi Soylemez Ilkögretim Okulu an armed policeman appeared at the polling station and we were informed by a judge from the top of electoral authority (YSK), that it was for his personal protection. Little funny when it is the same authority that prohibits police presence in polling stations.
In the village of Innikar, a Kurdish village, HDP’s officials did not turn up. Here only HDP candidates were allowed to attend the polling stations and being observed by the police and military. Generally, there is little evidence that the HDP’s officials have been threatened and therefore had been away – another sign of pressure from the authorities. In other words one can question how the villages and people have either been threatened or paid to vote for the AKP, since the election results have been so remarkably different from the election on June 7.
It was difficult to get in on some of the polling stations, the authorities had decided to only give official access to OSCE observers, and so it defiantly affected our work participation.
City: Hakkari
District/village: Çukurca
Delegation from: Germany
– Felix Lang – Reporter
– + other delegates
Our electoral observation delegation consisting of four persons accompanied by two lawyers reached Çukurca at about 11:00. There were four polling stations set up in Çukurca each containing several rooms with one ballot box per room. During our stay we visited all of these rooms. Concerning the ballot boxes , polling booths and the arrangement of the tables all legal standards seemed to be met in all of the polling stations.
In front of the first polling station we visited, heavily armed police officers had taken position alongside an armored vehicle and a water cannon. An election administrator (sandik baskani) inside the polling station told us that the police had taken position outside but not entered the building. He stated not to have witnessed any problems so far. We also were told that despite invitations made to all parties only HDP representatives were present. According to the election administrator members of other parties did not come because they did not expect any votes in favor of their parties at this polling station.
In front of the second polling station we encountered two armored vehicles and heavily armed police. As we entered the building we were followed by some officers still carrying their arms. Also in
this polling station the election administrators stated not to have noticed any problems. Representatives of all four big parties were present in all of the rooms.
On our way to the third polling station we learned from our lawyers that many members of the the highly militarized special police forces stationed in the region were registered to vote in this station. Therefore the ballot boxes there were mainly used by police officers. Residents of Çukurca (non police) told us that casting their vote there is difficult due to the intimidation caused by the massive presence of police. We saw a lot of police officers in the hallways and on the front yard of the building. Armored vehicles were present here as well. Being asked about this situation the election administrators said that there were no problems and that the police was keeping the required distance from the building. There were no attempts to keep people form entering the polling booths with mobile phones or cameras. Members of all four big parties were present. As we were leaving the building the local police commander drove up to the entrance in his official car. Shortly before reaching the next polling station we were passed by the same car, which then parked on the front yard. We seemed to be followed.
On the front yard of the next polling station we encountered even more armored vehicles, some directly in front of the entrance. People told us, that in the morning policemen were checking the papers of every person entering the building. Again armed officers were standing in the hallways. An election administrator told us that she knows that the presence of armed police is against the law but in her eyes it is not a problem as long as they would not enter the rooms containing the ballot boxes and polling booths. Another election administrator told us that police officers on duty had tried to cast their vote although they were not allowed to do so in this polling station. The list of voters contained a remark next to their name saying that they were not allowed to vote here and could cast their vote at the place where they were on duty. Apart from that the electoral administrators stated not to have witnessed any irregularities. Again representatives of all four big parties were present.
When we spoke to the police commander about the massive police presence he said these measures would violate the electoral law but were necessary due to the security situation. He denied the presence of armed police in the hallways next to the voting rooms although we had seen it. When we returned later to the same polling station we encountered two armed policemen in his presence next to the voting rooms. According to him this was no problem because these officers were only passing through to reach the tea-kitchen. After our remark the two officers were sent out of the building and took position on the front yard.
For the vote count we visited the third polling station again because we were told, that there had been irregularities there during the last elections (More votes cast than registered voters). During the count members of our group were present in all rooms of the polling station. Because of several policemen standing in the door frame it was not possible to enter these rooms without making physical contact with them. Concerning the counting itself we did not notice any irregularities.
City: Hakkari
District/village: Hakkari City and surrounding villages
Delegation from: Germany – Cologne
– Ulf Petersen
– + other delegates Observations: Our Conclusion: Direct irregularities in the election process (organization of the electoral boards, the choice of management company and the polling stations) we could not determine. We noticed the massive presence of the military and the police (Inner City – Police // Villages – only partially masked soldiers with automatic weapons and even armored vehicles and in one case, a water cannon. Also passport controls were taking part outside some of the polling stations by the military and police. Whether such conditions are part of a free and publicly accessible election is doubtable. Overall, our appearance met the goodwill of the voters. We were not hindered during our documentation. On the contrary, the soldiers were often covering their face or turning away from the entrance of the polling station when we used our camera. On the meaningfulness of our work there’s no doubt in our group. We visited 9 Polling stations, here are two examples: 1. The village Otluca is a former Assyrian village. There are 1200 registered voters, including 200 villagers, the rest are Turkish troops. Since the village school is not usable, two military tents are set up as makeshift polling stations. Near to to the polling station is a big military base with about 1,000 soldiers, according to information of a villager. Soldiers are located right on election tent, they are equipped with automatic weapons and masked in some cases up to the eyes. When we arrived a soldier controls the pass of a resident, however he retreats when we intervene. Later we take part in the counting. There are masked soldiers with automatic weapons directly next to the counting of votes in two electoral tents. In and around the tents are more soldiers who did not leave the tent and when we arrived. 175 villagers have voted, of which 143 voted for the HDP. Of the 1,000 soldiers only half has voted, the rest was in service. Some soldiers turn their backs because of the use of our camera and move slowly towards the barracks fence. The use of our camera leads to some discussion and obvious irritation to the soldiers. We ourselves, however, were not prevented by the soldiers of anything and also not addressed. The villagers (voters) are pleased with our appearance and willingly answered our questions. 2. Polling station in the city, school “Hakkari Sehit vali dervis Yalim ortaokulu”: In front of the building are soldiers, a smaller tank with loaded weapons and a larger military vehicle. Soldiers sit or stand at the entrance with automatic weapons. On the opposite side of the street there are more soldiers. The voters made it known that they are intimidated and the electoral board is not populated correctly. When checking the electoral boards in one of two polling stations, persons of CHP, AKP, HDP and SP (Felicity Party) are specified the electoral boards, so this is correct.
City: Hakkari
District/village: Hakkari City + Canakle and Kırıkdağ villages
Delegation from: Hamburg, Germany
– Jan Van Aken
– Jan Rübke
– Meike Dreessen-Rübke
In the course of the Election Day, we visited five schools with approx. 20 polling station inside the city of Hakkari as well as two schools in the villages Canakle and Kirikdag, close to Hakkari.
Access to polling stations
In general, we were granted free access to all the polling stations we planned to visit. In every single station, we were welcomed, all our question have been answered by those responsible. Later the day, we and several citizens were refused to enter the Anadolu Imam Hatip secondary school, where we were to participate in the counting of votes. Only after a longer dispute, reference to the national laws and our threat to inform international media about the refusal, access to the counting was granted.
In no location, we were forced to present our personal data, however, in the schools – not inside the polling stations – we were accompanied by local police officers.
1. The strong show of force by local police and gendarmerie was one of the most striking findings of our mission to several – not all – polling stations. There was checking of personal data of voters and preliminary searching of voters. Water cannons, armored vehicles and other riot control equipment was present, as well as police and other armed groups carrying assault rifles right in front of the schools and in very close distance to the polling stations (which is in itself a violation of the national law). In one school, a police officer publicly wearing symbols of the right wing MHP was present.
2. Another striking problem was the denial to monitor the counting of votes (Anadolu Imam Hatip secondary school, s.o.).
3. In the same location, voters and observers were filmed by local police. Only after the massive intervention of the observers, these recordings were deleted.
A small number of local election supervisors indicated that individual voters protested against threats and intimidations by police forces.
The one counting of votes we were able to attend proceeded regularly, without any incidents and in absence of police forces.
City: Hakkari
District/village: Şemdinli
Delegation from: Germany
– Falk Zarrad,
– Milan Freund,
– Pelin Çakır
– + some other delegates
We were observing the elections with a local translator. First we stayed all together, at 14:30 we splitt in two groups to observe the elections until the end in two polling places at the center.
Şemdinli Center
08:45 – Polling Place: Atatürk Primary School
Around 20 armed policemen were staying in front of the building and in the floorways of the school. We observed that a woman and a men went together in the polling booth.
When we left the school we were stopped by police. They took a picture of our passports. Afterwards, they also took pictures of us without asking our permission.
09:15 – Polling Place: Sabri Özel Primary School
In front of the shool we interviewed a woman and asked how she feels about the presence of police around the building. She said that the police bothers her and that it is difficult to find sleep in the nights.
One polling clerk told us that the police went through the building in the morning before the elections started. When we came, armed police forces were in front the building and inside the corridors. The director of police operation (for this building) told us that he is the responsible for the safety in this school and that the police should at least have 15 meters of distance to the ballot-box. However, armed police forces patrolled through the corridors and viewed inside the polling rooms from the doors which were definitely in closer distance than 15 meters to the boxes.
10:00 – Polling Place: Cumhuriyet Primary School
Police forces were in front of, and inside the building. Policemen as well as the director of the police operation refused to speak with us. Groups of up to ten policemen walked through the school and patrolled, as well in front of the polling rooms. They also stopped in front of the doors of the polling rooms and looked inside. We saw one armed policemen hanging at the gate of a polling place for a long while, afterwards we walked in and asked to polling clerks if such presence of the policemen was okay, but they told us, instead he was waiting on the line to use his vote, however, for our observation neither there was such a line existing nor he was getting inside to use his vote. We got informed that there were as well undercover policemen inside the school trying to find out who votes for which party.
10:40 – Polling Place: Mevlana Ticaret Meslek Lisesi
Less police presence than in the other buildings but still armed policemen walking up and down the corridors.
Villages of Şemdinli
11:10 – Polling Place: Günyazi
There was police in front of the polling place. When we entered the building there was almost no female voters inside. When we asked about the women the people told us that the women were given priority to vote earlier in the morning. Afterwards, a female polling clerk told us secretly that in fact there have been some cases where man voted instead of their female partners as well.
11:40 – Polling Place: Tekeli Primary School
There were again police and soldiers in front of the school area and two soldiers in front of the school building. A woman told us that the soldiers have not been inside the building during her vote, and she also voted with her free will because nobody can influence her inside the voting cabin.
Şemdinli Center
14:30 – Polling Place: Cumhuriyet Primary School
Constant presence of police forces inside the building and in front of the polling rooms was observed. In one polling room one AKP member said that our presence is not necessary as Turkey is a truly democratic country.
14:32 – until End of Elections, Polling Place: Sabri Özel Primary School
The police was still inside the building, patrolled through the floorways and stopped from time to time at the doors of the polling rooms to look inside. In room 1004 two woman voted in the same polling booth. One HDP polling clerk told us that in room 1004 a conflict broke out between the local AKP deputy-candidate and herself on the claim that one vote was given openly. She said that there was not such a case but still the AKP deputy-candidate threatened her.
As voting was over and counting began, a policeman went short inside one polling room than policemen tried to push people out the corridor to not see the counting. Policeman said to the people who stayed inside the floors: “When voting is finished, you have to leave here!” The people remained staying behind the gate of the polling places, but in some of the rooms the policemen took the first line, sometimes in a way blocking the people’s monitoring of counting procedure.
When we went down to the ground level, we realised that the School’s gate was locked and kept by security forces, and when we asked if it is normal to close it like this, the non-uniformed security person told us that he was ordered to do so, and he opened it afterwards. At 16:20 there was a short (around 1 minute) power breakdown.
Around 17:30 the counting was finished. The votes brought to one car by the presence of armed forces, and altogether they are transported to local council for elections within a convoy of armed vehicles.
15:00 – Polling Place: Mevlana Ticaret Meslek Lisesi
The police was still at the entrance of the building. We asked in the room with Box number 1022 about the presence of police. This led to a conflict between one AKP polling clerk and one HDP follower.
16:10 Polling Place Cumhuriyet Primary School
In the upper floor of the building have been around 15 policemen. They walked through the floorway and looked inside the polling rooms. At 16:20 there was an electricity breakdown for around one minute.
Generel Observations about all Polling Places we visited:
In general the voting procedure went well according to regulations, and no serious prevention, or blockage attempt was observed. We didn’t observe any fraud attempt during the counting of votes. Most importantly, the way that the police forces were heavily armed with assault rifles and other weapons, and often carrying them in a position ready to use, were creating a tension in polling places. Still, local people were stating that they were used to having so many armed forces around and one voter was even happy that at least this time they didn’t do body check at the entrance. Throughout our observation duty, policemen always followed us, sometimes chasing us in groups of two or three, and they often gazed us with threatening eyes.
City: Kars and Ardahan
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: Switzerland
– Dolivo Jean-Michel
– Jean Batou
– Dina Leal
– Jannik Olivier Böhm
– Suzan Efelti
– Lea Di Paolo
– Davide Azzi
– Liala Consoli
– David Weber

The delegation from Geneva consisting of nine observers was present in both districts (1)Kars and (2)Ardahan. Two teams (a/b) each in both area visited number of polling station and ballot boxes.
Our delegation witnessed:
 numerous violation of weapon ban within the polling station
 A state official allegedly campaigning for AKP on E-day
 Different non-severe technical irregularities
 A correct and open counting procedure without technical irregularities
The Swiss delegation (the one from Geneva) arrived in Kars airport the 31th of October at 1pm. We were then split into two groups. Four of us travelled to Ardahan. Five stayed in Kars
On the one hour drive to Ardahan we saw two times police checking cars. They were wearing no uniform , they were masked and had heavy machine guns on them.
Arriving in Ardahan we had the opportunity to discuss with several party representatives who summarised the happenings of the last months. The situation was calm but tens. The predictions for the election were rather positive. The latest survey for the coming election on Novemeber 1st were very similar to last results in June which led to the conclusion, that when no election fraud would occur, HDP will be able to send its representative Dr. Aktas again to Ankara.
Many reported, that AKP is putting pressure on citizens on an economical scale. People were promised economic insentives if they will vote for AKP and/or were threatened to loos their job. Since at no polling station we observed, people were even asked to leave their mobile phone or other recording devices outside the voting cabin. This sort auf fraud may have occurred (since people are asked to take a picture of the vote to proof they voted for the “right” party).
We did not detect any direct technical manipulation of the voting procedure and belief it would have been detected if done so. The election fraud was happening the period previous to the election day. HDP representatives have been intimidated, arrested and killed. HDP was after a certain point not
able campaign in a free and open manner because their members life were in danger. More than 150 HDP-offices that have been attacked, hundreds lost their life. Horrible crimes have been committed by police forces and the military which led somehow to a collective trauma (violation of dead bodies, killing of children and other civilians). Freedom of the press has been violated massively and in a very anti-democratic manner.
We consider all these factors as political manipulation of the election process and clear violation of fundamental human rights. The ones responsible for these violation shall be taken to justice.
City: Batman
District/village: Beşiri
Delegation from: Germany
– Jürgen Wessling
– Roger Toppel
8.20 Uhr Yeniyol (Kurtik) 90 persons entitled to vote, the election room was still not prepared
8.30 Uhr Turgut Ozal Ilkokulu in Ikiköprü (near Besiri) with 1800 persons entitled to vote, soldiers on the schoolyard
8.45 Uhr Ortaokul in Ikiköprü. After leaving the school 3 soldiers asked us for our permission. We showed the letter of the member of the german parliament, Sven Kindler (The Greens), who sent me to observe the elections. This letter had been translated.
9.00 Uhr Yeniyol (Kurtik)
10.40 Uhr Gercüs. The co-mayor told us, that 60 professionel soldiers had been sent to this region.
11.40 Uhr Hisar Köy (Hêsarê) Here we met some professionel soldiers in front of the school. We ignored them. At ballot box 1042 160 of 226 persons entitled to vote had already voted.
12.00 Uhr Kömürcü In the schoolyard there were some soldiers and two armed civilists (köykorucu). At the ballot box 1053 the Imam as a member of the election board (memur) wanted to discuss with us about democracy in France. He said: “Demokrasi zulüm dür“ (tyranny). We did not want to let us be provocated and left the room.
12.50 Kayapinar ballot boxes 1011 und 1012
13.25 Gercüs ballot boxes 1001 und 1002
14.20 Hasankeyf The co-chairman of HDP, Ritvan Ayhan, told us, that he had seen armed soldiers in the election rooms in 5 villages near Hasankeyf (Büyükdere, Uzundere, Karaköy, Topluköy, Tepebasi). They had eaten breakfast with the election board and stayed in the rooms. We should have a look at these villages, but we preferred to visit a school in Batman and to take part of the counting. At first we visited the Atatürk Ilkokulu in Hasankeyf. At the entrance a man (civil) asked the police to control us. The policemen took our passprts and looked for our names in a list of registered observators. While they did not find our names we showed our letter and got permission. After leaving the school the policemen asked again for our passports. They wanted to write down the identitynumbers and took fotos of our passports.
15.50 Batman We had no problems to enter the highschool (lise) and took part at the counting of ballot box 1205.
City: Şırnak
District/village: Güçlükonak
Delegation from: Switzerland
– Maja Hess
– Florian Wick
– + two other delegates
We were part of a seven headed delegation from Switzerland. Two of us made part of a group of four, together with two delegates from Italy, to observe the elections in Güclükonak.
We were greeted very hospitally at the party headquarters in Güclükonak. Afterwards we visited several villages in the district, accompanied by a human rights observer who knew practically everybody, which helped us a lot.
We visited the villages of Güclükonak (2 polling stations), Merkez, Boyuncuk, Gümüsyazi, Koçtepe, Cevrimli and Findik.
We did not encounter major irregularities. At the first polling station however, one of two schools in Güclükonak, we were denied access to the polling station. The Chief of police of the town told us, that we weren’t on the list of accredited observers. Since the list according to our knowledge was sent to the authorities in due time we could not quite believe this, probably a list of OSCE observers was consulted. However, lacking a translator, we could not really argue with this. The human rights observer with us told us after entering the polling station though, that everything seemed to be in due order.
We could enter all the following stations, even if it was just to walk through the premises and shake hands with the election committees. We could not ask any questions.
We could not find any great irregularities. Certainly to be taken into consideration should be the massive presence of military and police apparatus in front of every station, often supported by military vehicles, one of them even pointing an MG at people approaching the polling station. But people seemed used to this and it seemingly did not influence their will to give their vote.
At the village of Koçtepe we were informed that 14 people were not allowed to vote. They were so old, and one of them blind, that they were in need of assistance in filling out the voting forms. They were told, it was not allowed to be assisted in the polling booth. Later we were told that this was not regular and against the law, they should have been allowed to give their votes.
The participation was very high, everybody it seems wanted to vote.
We could assist at the process of counting the votes in Güclükonak, which seemed fair and transparent. Many people of the villages also were there and counted and observed the countings themselves.
In summary, the election at Güclükonak in itself, seemed correct and fair, which cannot be said of the whole process before the elections.
City: Şırnak
District/village: Silopi
Delegation from: Germany
– Florian Wöllfert – reporter
– + Some other delegates
Observations: Report of the election observers in Silopi (Province Şirnex/Şirnak) Observed polling stations: 10 (8 in town 2 in villages) 1. Süleyman Demirel Ilkokulu (opening was observed) 2. Kaymakam Teoman Ünüsan Ilkokulu 3. Vatan Ilkokulu/Ortaokulu 4. Dicle Ilkokulu/Ortaokulu 5. Ipekyolu Ilkokulu 6. Vali Kamil Acun Cok Programli Lisesi 7. Basköy Ilkörgretim Okulu 8. Verimli Ilkögretim Okulu 9. Atatürk Ortaokulu/Ilkokulu 10. Genclik Hizmetleri ve Spor Ilce Müdürlügü 11. Süleyman Demirel Ilkokulu (counting was observed) Overall impression: No big problems, it was good organized and disciplined (the opening of the visited polling station was on time, enough and good trained election assistants, entire election documents were on site, etc.). At an early time there was a very high voter participation. The observed counting was transparent and fair. Problems: Plain-clothes policeman (some with guns) were in the polling stations and occasionally some were spotted in the same room like the ballot boxes. Sometimes soldiers were outside the building. In one school the head of police talked to us and checked our documents and legitimacy. This lasted for an hour. Finally the responsible judge of the region allowed us to observe the election. Afterwards the police didn’t bother us anymore.
City: Şırnak
District/village: Silopi
Delegation from: Swisserland
– Simon Stülcken,
– Pit Giesen,
– Florian Wöllfert, – reporter
– Bigna Rambert,
– Pia Holenstein – 2nd reporter

Observations: Report of the election observers in Silopi (Province »Şirnex/ Şirnak) Observed polling stations: 10 (8 in town, 2 in villages) 1. Süleyman Demirel Ilkokulu (opening was observed) 2. Kaymakam Teoman Ünüsan Ilkokulu 3. Vatan Ilkokulu/Ortaokulu 4. Dicle Ilkokulu/Ortaokulu 5. Ipekyolu Ilkokulu 6. Vali Kamil Acun Cok Programli Lisesi 7. Basköy, Ilkörgretim Okulu 8. Verimli Ilkögretim Okulu 9. Atatürk Ortaokulu/Ilkokulu 10. Genclik Hizmetleri ve Spor Ilce Müdürlügü 11. Süleyman Demirel Ilkokulu (counting was observed) Overall impression: No big problems, it was well organized and disciplined (the opening of the visited polling station was on time, enough and good trained election assistants, entire election documents were on site, etc.). At an early time there was a very high voter participation. The observed counting was transparent and fair. Problems: Plain-clothes policeman (some with guns) were in the polling stations and occasionally some were spotted in the same room like the ballot boxes. Sometimes soldiers were outside the building. In one school the head of police talked to us and checked our documents and legitimacy. This lasted for an hour. Finally the responsible judge of the region allowed us to observe the election. Afterwards the police didn’t bother us anymore.
Addition of the Swiss observers:
In most polling stations the police was actually inside the premises, a.e. in Vatan Ilkokulu/Ortaokulu (where we were held up for longer than an hour) they occupied a room as office and used the cantine as theirs.
In all of them were at least one or more armed police cars very close to the entrance exept in the village Basköy, Ilkörgretim Okulu, where it was the army (but actually the soldiers seemed quite friendly with the population).
We did not notice any fraud. But after the counting the local contacts expressed deep concern about the fact that the four members of parties from the polling desks were not allowed to attend the final handing over of the results to the lawyers, which is a break of the rule. From each desk only the polling-desk officer in charge was admitted, who is payed for the day and, as the local citizens told us, an employee of the government and usually attached to AKP.
We also want to stress the impression of the exceptional situation in the region. Silopi is extremely threatened and the streets are empty from early evening. We were told to keep away from windows and not go on the balconies. The centre of the town is not accessible to cars by barricades, as we were told to keep the police from raiding it. This was the reason that four schools could not be used as polling stations.
City: Şırnak
District/village: Uludere
Delegation from: Swisserland
– Annina Schneider,
– Susanne Schefer
We were part of a sevenheaded delegation from Switzerland. Two of us observed the elections in Uludere and surrounding villages.
We were greeted very hospitally at the party headquarters and from the mayor Zeynep. On E-day we visited several villages in the district (Gülyazi Köyü, Ortabag Köyü, Tascelen Köyü, Inceler Köyü, Roboski, and in various schools of Senoba, Hilal, Uludere main town), accompanied by a representative of HDP, a driver, a interpreter and a journalist who all helped us a lot.
We did not encounter major irregularities. In the afternoon however, we where followed by a police mayor who tried to deny us access to the polling premises. In the very last school he succeeded. However we must admit, that in this polling stations we were also accompanied by Ferhat Encu MP that was tried to be blocked by the police.
All the villages and towns we visited where highly militarized. In front of the polling station often army vehicles were parked. In some premises we encountered armed policemen in the hallway. How ever the voters were brave and didn’t seem to let them influence the procedure.
Observing the technical procedure we didn’t see any irregularity.
The participation was very high everybody wanted to vote. In one place they even asked for a ballot to allow a paralyzed women voting at home, what was denied.
Our presence was highly welcomed by the people in the villages. We where hugged and many people smiled us. We hat the impression that they considered our presence to be supportive and helpful.
We didn’t assist the counting, as we had to travel back to Sirnak before dark.
We would like to thank all members of HDP that we met during our visit and congratulate the Kurdish people for their strength and courage to withstand the suppression by the government.
November 5, 2015
Annina Schneider, Susanne Schefer
City: Şırnak
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: Germany

our group was about 4 election observers, which were used for the election day in sirnak. We reached the first of thirteen polling stations at 9 a.m . The election was held in educational institutions of the government (schools, primary schools, universities). One of the polling station places was changed in comparison to the last election. just once there were difficulties having access to the school. We hadn’t been listed so we delivered our passes in order to get in.
The police was controlling the voter’s passports in several polling stations. there were at least 2 mummed and heavy-armed guys (probably police/military special force), they left the area in civil suv`s a few minutes after we arrived. At times a police officer just allowed people to elect after showing him there passport and election right paper. they stopped the accredited electing with actions like this. Furthermore, we have been called to leave the room with the vote box, because we disturbed the election. Civil police officers tried to compare our names with names on an “official” List. And they tried to find out the mobile numbers of our escort.
in front, and inside of every visited polling station have been armed and partially heavy armed police officers. But for all that the election was held without bigger troubles. Even by request of the campaign worker and voters there haven’t been any troublemaking incidents. Aloud the statement of the campaign workers there wasn’t any noteworthy deviation of the voter participation in comparison to the last election
City: Şırnak
District/village: Different districts and villages
Delegation from: Germany
We were 4 people based in Sirnak. Around 9 a.m. we reached the first out of 13 visited poll stations. The elections were held in schools or universities. One of the poll stations was resettled within Sirnak in contrast to the former elections. Only one time a problem occured when we wanted to enter the building. After turning in our passports to the police we could enter. Before we left they returned the passports to us.
The police checked the IDs of the voters in front of several poll stations. At one school at least two masked, heavily armed, and unlabeled men (probably special forces of the police/military) were stationed, who left the place in a civil truck a fue minutes after our arrival. In the same polling station a police officer let the people vote only after presenting the ID and the official note that people can vote. The normally legitimate way of voting only with the ID was forbidden. Furthermore were we told to leave the room where the poll box was placed because we were disturbing the voting process. Moreover our names were compared with an „official“ list of observers for the elections by the civil police. They also tried to get the number of our translator.
In front of as well as inside the schools and universities armed police officers were stationed, some of them with machine guns.
Despite these observations the elections took place without severe interferences. On inquiry of the assisting people no disturbances were mentioned. There were no differences in the participation on elections compared to the former election.
City: Siirt
Delegation from: UK
– Tom Anderson – Corporate watch
– Eliza Egret
– Peter Foster
– + other delegates
Observations: On the 1st of November 2015, we travelled from the UK to Siirt, in North Kurdistan – the mostly Kurdish region in South Eastern Turkey – as one of several delegations who arrived there to observe the Turkish elections. These were the second elections of 2015, after the ruling AKP lost their absolute majority and the HDP – a pro-Kurdish party – won parliamentary representation in the June election. The November elections were held in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty following renewed attacks on Kurdish groups from both state and non-state forces within Turkey, alongside widespread repression of opposition media and political forces.
Volunteer electoral monitors came at the invitation of the HDP, who had been concerned about the very real possibility of fraud and intimidation of voters on polling day. One of our groups was sent to Baykan and Kurtalan areas, to the north of Siirt. During election day this group visited nineteen polling stations. Another of our groups was sent to the Pervari regions, east of Siirt, and visited three polling stations. The findings of both groups are detailed below. In the Baykan and Kurtalan areas, we accompanied a delegation of elected officials from the HDP party. A strong police and military presence was witnessed all across these areas, with police concentration in cities and larger towns, and military and village guards in villages and rural areas. In a total of three places in the Baykan area, we were denied entry by police or military, each time told that our names were not to be found on the list of people who were allowed to enter the polling station. At Cumhuriyet primary and secondary school in Baykan, police demanded to see our passes to prove that we had permission to enter. HDP party delegation members debated with the police, and we were briefly granted entry. We made it as far as the first voting room – in time to see a soldier in full combat uniform drop his vote into the ballot box whilst uniformed and plainclothes police removed us from the school. Election monitors were removed from Cumhuriyet primary and secondary school by police, after witnessing a soldier voting in full combat uniform. The second station that we were denied entry to was near Cumhuriyet Ortaokulu, a school called Baykan İlçe Halk Kütüphanesi. Some of the same plainclothed police from the previous school had followed us there. We were told that we could not enter because we were not on their list, and that we should not attempt to enter any other polling stations. The third station that we were denied entry to was in a village in the Siirt-Baykan area, a school called Sarısalkım Ortaokulu/ İlkokulu – both a primary and secondary school. A group of six soldiers armed with Heckler & Koch G3s were sat on small hill immediately adjacent to and overlooking the school. This was the first time we had seen soldiers next to a polling station. Two of the soldiers entered the courtyard just after we had arrived with the delegation, and told us that we were forbidden from entering the building. Soldiers armed with G3s denied election monitors entry to the polling station at Sarısalkım primary and secondary school. The police we saw in the Baykan areas were almost all armed with handguns, and some carried automatic rifles. At the first school we were denied entry to, two automatic rifles with grenade launchers attached were propped up against a wall behind four police sat at the school’s main entrance. The village guards we saw – in both the Baykan and Kurtalan areas – generally carried Kalashnikov rifles, and the soldiers in the same areas carried Heckler & Koch G3s. In front of one school in the Kurtalan area – Kayabağlar Çok Programlı Anadolu Lisesi – a light machine gun stood on the ground with a British-Canadian Arwen 37 grenade and tear gas launcher behind it, and four soldiers carrying G3s sat to the side. A village guard carrying a Kalashnikov automatic rifle outside 30 Ağustos Zafer İlkokulu, a primary school in the Baykan area. Soldiers armed with G3s sat next to a light machine gun and a British-Canadian Arwen 37 grenade and tear gas launcher, at Kayabağlar Çok Programlı Anadolu High School in Kurtalan. At several of the polling stations in the Siirt-Baykan area, we saw police or military vehicles parked within the grounds of the schools, often close to the entrance.
At the Arınç İlkokulu – a primary school in the town of Ziyaret near Baykan – a 4×4 with a machine gun turret was parked right in front of the main entrance to the school. We saw another similar vehicle parked outside the polling station at Baykan İlkokulu, another primary school. A 4×4 with a machine gun turret parked outside Arınç İlkokulu primary school in the Baykan area, North Kurdistan. A police car was parked right next to the entrance of the Gazi Mustafa Kemal primary and secondary school. Police car parked next to the entrance of Gazi Mustafa Kemal primary and secondary school. An armoured personnel carrier (APC) was parked in front of Kız Yatılı Bölge Ortaokulu, a secondary school in the Baykan area. Police were also nearby. Armoured personnel carrier (APC) parked in front of Kız Yatılı Bölge Ortaokulu, a secondary school in Baykan. Of the nineteen polling stations we visited in the Siirt-Baykan and Siirt-Kurtalan areas, most were schools, and without exception, outside all the stations we saw either police or military. Along with the APC mentioned previously, there were several police in the courtyard of Kız Yatılı Bölge Ortaokulu secondary school in Baykan. Police presence in courtyard of Kız Yatılı Bölge Ortaokulu, a secondary school in Baykan. Over ten police were noticed in the courtyard of Veysel Karani Ortaokulu, a primary school in the town of Ziyaret, Baykan. Some of the police present in courtyard of Veysel Karani Ortaokulu, a secondary school in the Baykan area. In the courtyard of Atabağı Ortaokulu, a secondary school in the Baykan area, we counted three soldiers and five village guards standing in the courtyard. Soldiers carrying G3s and village guards armed with Kalashnikovs stood outside Atabağı Ortaokulu, a primary school in Baykan. At 30 Ağustos Zafer İlkokulu, a primary school in the Baykan area, we noted two soldiers and three village guards stood in the courtyard. Soldiers and village guards in the courtyard of 30 Ağustos Zafer İlkokulu in Baykan. Village guards in the courtyard of 30 Ağustos Zafer primary school. In the courtyard of Vakıfbank Nizamettin Sevgili Ortaokulu, a secondary school in the Kurtalan area, we noted six soldiers with blue berets carrying G3s, two of whom entered a polling room as we were leaving. This school was next to the Kayabağlar Çok Programlı Anadolu high school, with the heavy weaponry depicted earlier. Soldiers outside Vakıfbank Nizamettin Sevgili Ortaokulu, a secondary school in the Kurtalan area. At least six military were seen in the courtyard of Aktaş İlkokulu, a primary school near Siirt. Some of the military in the courtyard of Aktaş İlkokulu, a primary school near Siirt. In many cases, the security forces presence in the courtyard of the polling stations were clearly visible from voting room windows, some of which were very close to polling booths. Police and vehicle visible from voting room window in Gazi Mustafa Kemal primary and secondary school. Military visible from voting room window in Atabağı Ortaokulu primary school in Baykan. The military and police presence we saw in these regions served not only to intimidate us as election monitors – so much so that after being removed from and then refused entry to two schools, come the third we voluntarily didn’t attempt to enter, to avoid any potential confrontation with the police there – but locals told in several places of as many as fifty people in their town or village who hadn’t come to vote because of the security forces presence. In one instance, we entered a polling station at
Yukarı Tütenocak İlkokulu primary, only to find a room of soldiers and village guards sat at tables eating lunch, right next to the polling booths. A local official, required to remain present at the voting table throughout the election, was not at the station, as rather than have his lunch there amongst the soldiers and village guards, he chose to disregarded his duty and left to eat at his home. As the group of election monitors sent to Pervari, we were refused entry into the first school that we went to. We were told that we were not on a list to monitor the elections, and that we should have arranged to be on the state-approved list. An hour later, we walked to a second school, where a massive armoured personnel carrier waited outside the school gate. We tried to go inside and were immediately turned away. The police officer told us that it would be impossible to gain entry. We were told about problems with fraud in Pervari earlier on in the day. A man had managed to vote without showing his identification and had been spotted doing this and was reported. Throughout the Siirt-Baykan, Siirt-Kurtalan and Siirt-Pervari areas of North Kurdistan, marked intimidation by the mere presence of police and military at polling stations was clear to those of us acting as election monitors this November 1st 2015 election in Turkey.
City: Urfa
District/village: Urfa+Surrounding villages
Delegation from: Italy
– Simona Deidda
– Giuseppina Vitiello
– Andrea Piccinini
– Egidio Giordano
– Marcella Masperi
– + three other delegates
As delegation in Urfa what we observed are some Arabic villages around the city of Urfa, in Eyyübye area. HDP decide to observe villages with majority of Arabic population because it is here that normally are bigger problems, and it was considered important to be there as observers to limit election fraud.
The names of the villages that we visited are: Uğurlu, Yardımcı, Kubacık, Vergili, Bakışlar, Büyük Üzlük, Özlü, Seksen Ören e Görenler. What we observe in each school is the presence of mukhtar in polling station, in illegal way of course. In this way freedom of expression and vote are in some way limited by instilling fear and pressure on voters. Other important fact is the high rate of men inside and outside polling station in comparison with very law presence of women, who are always followed by a male family member. What we note is the presence of jandarma in two villages inside and outside the school (Uğurlu and Virgili). In the first village some villagers approach to observers to ask why we are in the village and which party we belong. They suggest us to leave because during every election 4 or 5 people die in the village. It is a kind of threat. Observers note that in every polling station too many people are inside and this chaos does not allow the registration process and vote on a regular basis. In this way it is impossible to guarantee the right to privacy and freedom of voters. When too many people approach to us, we decide to leave from polling station to avoid
increasing the tension inside population and in the jandarma, that denied us the chance to take pictures outside the school.
In the Virgili village, 850 people vote, because 5 villages in the area vote in same polling station. As in the first village we meet jandarma outside the school. The first irregularity that we note is too many people into the classroom and we soon understand the reason: two different polling station are present in the same classroom. This is of course illegal and do not allow the regular holding of election. This is the perfect situation for election fraud and to influence the villagers’ vote. An Italian observer soon note something strange: the presence of two persons in the voting booth, a man and a woman. When we ask explanation to the president, he say to us that it is a common practice in this area that a woman is followed by a male of the family and that normally it happens when someone has physical problem or she is blind. But he also say that most of times it happens only because women are not able to read and write. This is, of course, a big fraud because this practice does not guarantee the freedom of vote to the women in the villages. While the situation looks calm, one of the village inside classroom raise his voice aggressively and ask to the delegation to go outside because classroom is crowded and people are getting nervous because of us.
Next village, Bakışlar, around 350 voters has as president a military servant who makes to us defiantly different questions: who we are, why we are there, which is our association/organization in Italy. He tried to prevent viewing of electoral lists and the method for recording the voters. What we note is that in the list only few finger print (used to replace signature if someone is not able to write) is present. This shows or that the is a high rate of schooling in the village or that someone vote on behalf of several voters. The same problem we see in Özlü village. What we observe in this school is the important difference in 3 polling stations present in this school. In the first one, the president explains to us that almost everyone in this village can write and read and that most of the people go to university. He say that there are doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc. He explain this to excuse os absence of finger print in the electoral list. The second polling station is different: many people can not write, but instead to use finger print, with whom it is possible identify voters, they use normal stamp. Of course this method is not legal. In the end, in the third we observe both signatures and finger print. But it is in this polling station that something strange happened. Someone inside voting booth spend too much time inside and we could heard that he/she has lot of paper inside. When we ask to the president how long someone can stay inside he say to us all time that he/she need and it depends from person. We go out because we have not power to act. In that moment president go to the door and close it, as if they need to hide some fraud that is happening inside. But it was happened in Seksen Ören, who let us very upset. When we enter in the school we soon note that the classrooms are close and people explain to us that it is because is lunch time so everyone is at home to eat. When we ask if it is normal and legal procedure in Turkey, one man, who say he is the president of one pooling station, invite us to visit his classroom. While we are speaking about rate of voters and party representatives, some observers note something strange in the electoral list. We show to the president and someone try to take picture, but soon the president put his hand under the camera to stop him. He start to scream and to curse, close the door and do not allow no one to leave the room. The discussion take around 20 minutes and in this time also mukhtar arrive. He was furious. After almost half hour we decide to leave from village because people say that otherwise they will call jandarma to “protect” pooling station.
After this event, the mood of the members of delegation change and we became worried about the final result of this election. We knew immediately that we had to deal with fraud and irregularities,
but now we are more conscious and we know that whatever happens or we see inside the polling stations we can not act in any way.
Last village, a voter say to the president that he can vote in front of them because he promised his vote to AKP, but president invite him to enter in the voting booth. After voting, he kiss the voting paper and send this kiss to “president Erdoğan”.
City: Van
District/village: Çatak
Delegation from: Germany
– Malte Buchholz
– Malte Elling
– + some other delegates
– 10:30 am Sehit Seyvan Yavuz Ilkögretim okulu
One armed person was waiting at the entrance of the door to the school. Two police officers in an armored vehicle where on the street in front of the school. When entering the yard of the school we were greeted by the local police president. From inside there is nothing to report.
We were travelling to the first 4 schools with the mayor of Catak. They were guiding us to the different schools since we didn’t know where they are located. When leaving the first school we noticed how the police wrote down the number plate of the car we were traveling in and how they reported the number plate via their radio.
– 11 am Akcabük Ilkokulu
Akcabük is a very small village up in the mountain. On the way to the village soldiers were waiting next to road. In the village there were two soldiers on a rooftop of a small building. Directly in front of the small school building there were also two soldiers walking up and down. The small class room where the voting took place was full of people who already took there vote or were just hanging out there. The curtain of the voting place was never closed during the time we were there. It didnt feel like an anonymous voting atmosphere.
– 11:34 am Muhammed Said Aid Anadolu Lisesi
We drove there, because problems were reported. When we arrived at the scene there were discussions between several police officers (plain clothes- officers) In front of the school. We were told that the police officers were trying to arrest one person who asked the police to leave the inner of the school. The arrest could be avoided by the mayor. Also a judge was called to the scene. Even after the situation calmed down the police was present in the inner of the school. We asked in the class-rooms whether the police entered the classroom or stayed on the corridor. The representatives of the parties affirmed us that the police was entering the classrooms before. When we were leaving also the police president and several plain-clothes officers arrived in the
school. They surrounded us in the corridor and started to ask questions who we would be, why we were here, which organization we belong to, why we don’t make election observation in our own country, but here, why we could enter the classrooms , but else only people who are about to vote. Also the police president checked our passports.
– 12:15 am Merkez Hürriyet Ilkokulu
Two soldiers were waiting in front of the school. Two were walking in the school building.
– Lunch break
We were sitting with the local mayor and other people. They got a call and they were told that we are not allowed to enter any schools any longer. The reason they stated later for this is that we were not independent. We than went to the local court building to protest against the decision. We went there and were told to wait. Then again the police president arrived there. He took our letters we had from the German Left Party and our passports. After half an hour he came back and told us to come back in 2 hours (which would be half an hour before the voting time is over). At that time the responsible judge would be back. We came back after the 2 hours and the local chief of the election committee was there. He said there is absolutely no problem and we would have the right to go.
Anyhow he didn’t want to let us go alone. He brought us to a school nearby.
– 4 pm school 5
In that last school the police even introduced a small checkpoint inside the school behind the door. They had a table and it looked like they stayed there the whole time. They didnt want us to enter the building, because the had an order to do so. The boss of election committee talked to them and after showing our letters and passport we were allowed to go. When we were there no one came to vote anymore. Only one police officer entered the room several times. At 5 pm the counting process started. The two police officers entered the room with their rifles. As a justification they said as Citizen of Turkey they would be allowed to join the counting process. There was nothing to report about the counting itself. Just representatives of the parties were on the phone a lot, which as we were told before is forbidden in the class room.
Side Note
In one neighborhood of Catak the votes for AKP increased from 6 to 66. We were told that in this neighborhood the AKP offered all people a job if they vote for them.
– Several times police more close than ten meters to ballot box
– soldiers or Police,with plain-clothes officers, were present and armed vehicles in front of every schools
– police and judge made it hard for us as international election observers since the morning
City: Van
District/village: Erdîş (Erciş)
Delegation from: Germany
– Selma Berg
– Lukas Theune
– Christine Lüth
– Livia Martmüller
– Anna-Maria Wüst
– Nadiya Ünsal
– Emal Ghamsharik
– Benjamin Rassbach
– Gülaysan Karaaslan
– Zerrin Güneş
– Hannah Schultes
Erdîş constituency:
– 312 ballot-boxes (several boxes per polling station)
– HDP won the last local elections
– results of the last parliamentary elections in Wan province: 7 HDP MPs, 1 AKP MP
Overall impression: Strong police and military presence in the polling stations. In general, the military presence in Wan province was stronger than in the previous days. At several polling stations, locals told us that this presence is meant to exert psychological pressure.
Observations in the polling stations:
First polling station: Aselsan Ilkokulu
An armed policeman is standing in one of the election rooms.
Second polling station: Hüsnü M. Üzyegin Ortaokulu
In the street, 200 meters from the school’s entrance, is a water cannon. A military vehicle passes in front of the school with a flashing blue light. We interpret this as a psychological attempt to intimidate.
Ballot-box 1289 (11:05am): nothing unusual.
Third polling station: … Ilkögretim Okulu
An armed soldier is standing in the school’s foyer.
Ballot-box 1306: 40% turnout until now
Ballot-box 1309: nothing unusual
Fourth polling station: Salih Ölmiz Ilkögretim Okulu
The HDP won HDP of the votes at the last elections in this village although 40 votes were not counted as a result of government intervention.
A soldier with a gun steps out of the school. 2 soldiers are in the school’s entrance.
Ballot-box 1184: A man and a woman step out of the polling booth together. The chairman of the election room alleges that this was necessary because the woman cannot read.
Fifth polling station: Kemal Okulu
Ballot-boxes 1226, 1223 and 1227: 4 policemen with guns in the corridor. The HDP-lawyer protests against the presence of policemen in the corridor.
Ballot-box 1223: 80% turnout until now
Ballot-box 1230: 70% turnout until now. One of the election assistants complains that policemen have been watching the election booth through the open door of the election room.
Sixth polling station: Yatili Bergi Ortaokulu
Ballot-box 1187: 70% turnout until now
Ballot-box 1188: irregularities:
– While in the election room of ballot-box 1187 the overleaf of the ballot paper had two stamps, in the election room of ballot-box 1188 there is only one stamp.
– After stepping out of the election booth, a female voter throws her envelope into the ballot-box and hands back the stamp but does not sign. The election room’s chairman alleges that the woman signed before she entered the election booth, when we were not yet in the room.
Seventh polling station: Kocapinar Medlaun Ortaokulu
Two soldiers armed with rifles are sitting infront of the school. Three more armed soldiers are standing in the corridor.
Ballot-box 1179: 75% turnout until now
Ballot-box 1181: 80% turnout until now
Ballot-box 1180: The HDP election assistant tells us that since the morning soldiers have been controlling voters’ identities although this is the task of the election chairman and of his election assistants. This is also a way of exerting psychological pressure.
Eighth polling station: Anadoli Lisesi
Five soldiers armed with rifles: two of them next to the school building, three in the school’s entrance.
Ballot-boxes: 1175, 1176 and 1177: 70% turnout until now.
Observations in the Ercis Adalet Sarayi:
After visiting the polling stations we go to the Ercis Adalet Sarayi (district administration building). This is where the ballot papers which were counted in the polling stations are counted again. We (the international election observers) are denied access to the building. The police ask us provocatively why we, who come from Europe, want to observe their elections. “We should care about democracy in our own countries”, the police tells us.
City: Van
District/village: İpekyolu
Delegation from: Germany
– Selma Berg
– Lukas Theune
– Christine Lüth
– Livia Martmüller
– Anna-Maria Wüst
– Nadiya Ünsal
– Emal Ghamsharik
– Benjamin Rassbach
– Gülaysan Karaaslan
– Zerrin Güneş
– Hannah Schultes
We visited several polling stations in Van. In the first station, Zaferler Ilkokulu, we noticed many plainclothes and uniformed police in front and inside of the building. We noticed that the police was visible at every polling station and in every polling room. Other election helpers confirmed that there was two or three times more police than during the last elections, on July 7, 2015. Their presence was intended to intimidate voters.
Sometimes they also stood right at the entrance to the polling room or even inside the room. There were also riot police units (cevik küvveti) on the premises and inside the building, although they are not allowed to enter. Water cannons and armored vehicles were often posted on the polling station premises.
At two locations, Sehit Firat and Yalinagac School, we also saw heavily armed Special Forces of the gendarmerie (özel harekat) in front of the building; they did not hesitate to enter the building.
Our presence was not tolerated everywhere. Sometimes, the police asked us to leave the polling station immediately. Often, we also had to present an official letter to be able to observe the elections at all. During our visits to the polling stations, plainclothes police often accompanied us or observed us quietly. Still, our presence usually caused the police to disappear; they even left the polling rooms when we entered.
Sometimes, the police even refused to recognize local election observers.
At Nizayi Türkmenoglu School, we were told that a local AKP representative had visited the polling station accompanied by 20 members of the cevvik küvvet. This had intimidated the present voters.
City: Van
District/village: Ebex(Çaldıran)+Begirî(Muradiye)
Delegation from: Germany
– Selma Berg
– Lukas Theune
– Christine Lüth
– Livia Martmüller
– Anna-Maria Wüst
– Nadiya Ünsal
– Emal Ghamsharik
– Benjamin Rassbach
– Gülaysan Karaaslan
– Zerrin Güneş
– Hannah Schultes
Election observer report for Ebex (Çaldıran, Wan/Van province) and Bêgirî (Muradiye, Wan/Van province)
We were sent to the north of Van, in the districts of Bêgirî and Ebex. Bêgirî has 58,000 inhabitants, of which about 28,000 are eligible to vote. There were 102 polling stations in Bêgirî. Ebex has about 31,000 inhabitants and 128 polling stations.
We had just entered the HDP office in Bêgirî, when we were told that some local politicians were driving to a village, where problems had been reported. Therefore, our first stop was the village Açıkyol in the Bêgirî district.
Right in front of the polling station, we saw a large group of people, who were just about to have a violent confrontation. Soon, some people started beating others.
An AKP district chief (wearing a bright jacket and a moustache in our video) was among the most visible aggressors.
The AKP chief attacked the journalist, Remzi Solmaz of Dicle Haber (DIHA) and damaged his camera equipment. Solmaz later told us what had happened: An AKP supporter had tried to vote for another person in absentia. The election committee did not permit this, and a confrontation began. The described AKP chief then came to the election office and interfered, physically attacking others.
The local HDP representative who came with us tried to deescalate, just like the soldiers stationed in front of the school building. But the AKP chief (district president) would not calm down and took a threatening posture towards her.
By now the HDP provincial delegate, Tuğba Hezer (red jacket in the photo) had arrived. After about ten minutes, the situation calmed down, but the soldiers cleared the schoolyard anyway. We were also sent away and could no longer enter the polling station.
The DIHA reporter, who was beaten and whose camera was damaged, told us that he had lost four teeth in an attack in a neighboring village during the 2013 communal elections. He also told us that journalists for Kurdish media could no longer move around without a press pass.
In the Ebex district, we traveled with the HDP district chief Ali Ihsantaş. The co-president, Derya Gönül, fell victim to a wave of arrests against HDP members in the preceding month and has since been imprisoned in Ankara.
In the polling station in the elementary school of Anittepe, we entered two polling rooms containing ballot boxes and cabins. Everything was ok.
In the third room, an armed police officer sat directly next to the ballot box and the four voting committee members of the various parties.
A young man told him, as we entered, that this is forbidden, and the policeman quickly left the room. Two broad-shouldered men then started discussing with the young man and told him, that it is completely normal for police to sit in the polling rooms. According to our information, on-duty police officers are not allowed to enter the polling rooms.
At Atatürk Ilkokulu in another village of the same district, we saw many police officers with machine guns in front of the building. Many of the police men covered their faces, because, as someone explained, they did not want to be recognized by the local population.
In the countryside, mostly soldiers and korucus (village guards) stood in front of the polling stations. The urban polling stations were mostly guarded by police. We observed nothing hinting towards any intimidation by PKK militants. On the contrary: The fight in Açıkyol, where an AKP politician led a violent mob of party supporters against a female HDP representative and a reporter, indicates that AKP members interfered with the elections.
Around 4:30 PM, we drove to the district administration in Bêgirî to watch the votes being counted. After we were refused entry, we presented a letter by the German national parliamentary delegate Ulla Jelpke (LINKE). This was shown to a jurist inside the building. After ten minutes, we were informed, that the people there would call us back to tell us, if we were allowed to enter.
Around 5:30 PM, as we were just about to return to Van, our contact called us and said that one person would be allowed to enter. After we asked at the gate, if another person bearing the same letter could enter, we were told very clearly that none of us would be allowed in, because the building was too crowded.
At the same time, a new bus full of soldiers arrived at the district administration, a tank rolled up, and the street in front of the building was blocked with warning tape. During our first visit a few hours earlier, it was still possible to walk up to the outer gate.
This was a reaction to the news that the polling stations, only in the east of Turkey, would close one hour earlier than in the west. So the length of the Election Day was cut short and participation restricted for one half of the country. So the Turkish government feared reactions from the local population, who might have felt swindled. Contrary to these fears, the streets of Muradiye and Van remained almost empty for the rest of the night.
City: Van
District/village: Gevaş
Delegation from: Germany

Report of election observers in Westan (Gevaş; province: Wan/Van)
The first village we visit is Dokuzağaç. We are greeted by gendarmes, who tell us they have the order from up high that they are not allowed to let anyone closer than 100 m to the building. We meet HDP representatives who tell us, that they are also not allowed in. The gendarmes talk to the responsible election judge. Only then are we allowed in. Inside the polling station, the brother of the local AKP chief stands around looking important. In front of the school, there are seven gendarmes and two korucus (local militia paid by the state).
On the way to Göründü village, we learn that the neighboring village, Karkar, has been blocked off by the military. No one can leave or enter, and it is not possible to vote.
In Hasbay, we arrive to a conflict between a gendarme and the locals. Although the election committee told him several times, that he has no right to be inside the building, he repeatedly entered the school bearing arms. Representatives of ALL parties tell us, that the military keeps intervening and putting pressure on them and ignores their demands to respect the freedom to vote.
Soon, the governor of Van and the responsible election judge arrive, because the gendarme called him, telling him that “unauthorized persons” (we) had entered the school. They tell us, however, that we are allowed to stay.
In the city of Gevaş proper, there are no longer gendarmes inside the schools, but uniformed policemen. Sometimes they also enter the polling rooms. At one polling station, the election supervisor responds to our inquiry, that they ask the police to send people out of the polling stations, if they get too crowded.
We can summarize, that we, as independent election observers, were initially rejected at almost every polling station. We repeatedly had to show our ID cards and official letters; then the gendarmes would phone the election judge and only let us in after his confirmation. We also found that the population of Gevaş, both in urban and rural areas, was not able to cast their ballots free of external pressure. The enormous presence of (para-)military and police units intimidated and seriously interfered with people’s right to vote.
City: Van
District/village: Bahçesaray
Delegation from: Germany

Concerning the situation before the second election round:
In a HDP bureau in the center of Bahçesaray we got the information that since the first ballot in July there have been no cases of political motivated injury of private law, but that there was extraordinary police presence. Further immense intimidations by the police and the deployed soldiers are reported and described as that intense, that a free and equal election campaign for the HDP wasn’t always given.
Summary of the observed on the election day:
On the election day we visited eight schools, in total 15 of the 36 polling stations of Bahçesaray, further we attended two countings (polling station 1023; 1022). Thereby we mostly were accompanied by a member of parliament for the HDP. In generally we always received entrance to the polling station after a shorthand announcement by the polling stations chairman. Concentrating on problems we observed, it is to declare that the ballot boxes, which was supposed to be equipped with a white cardboard and a red seal with a black stamp most often were inaccurate. Further sticked envelopes which contained the ballots have been rare. Anyway both seemed to be more a matter of inexactness.
The most obvious and immense problem depict the enormous presence of armed forces, as there were four categories: (1) regular police officers with guns or machineguns; (2) Koruçu’s a armed force, less professional than soldiers but implemented by the government equipped with machineguns; (3) soldiers, professional dressed armed forces with heavy weapons; (4) undercover officers, most often just visible by accidently showing their walky-talky or arm. In all but one case we run into the armed forces right in front of the polling stations, in some they also followed us into the polling rooms itself.
There are two situations, which need to be mentioned explicit:
(1) Diğanyayıa Ilkokuulu (1013 | 1014), directly in front of the polling station were four soldiers and one Koruçu’s, further were sitting around the school. Shortly after we entered the polling stations to observe a soldier equipped with a machinegun approached us, immediately a present person instructed the soldier to leave the school because of his weapon, instate of following the hint, the soldier asked for the man’s name and noted it. The situation was followed by a longer discussion in front of the school because of our presence, which was settled quickly after consulting the soldier’s commandant.
(2) Observing the counting at Halk Eğıtim Merkey (1022), the whole counting a police officer armed with a Kalaschnikow is sitting next to the ballot box.