Is Something Rotten In Ankara’s Mayoral Election? A Very Preliminary Statistical Analysis

As the tweet button says on Swedish Assistant Professor Erik Meyersson’s piece, over 2000 tweets. Why? Because he waded in on the 1st of April to the widespread debate of ballot rigging by the ruling AKP in the 30 March local elections. No credible observer thought the AKP would ever lose these elections. For starters, all the preceding surveys put them well ahead of their nearest rivals, the CHP. That said, the same surveys put the race for mayor of İstanbul (Turkey’s largest city) & Ankara (the seat of power) as tight. Factor in notorious whistleblower tweep Fuat Avni claiming Erdoğan didn’t care about losing any city, except İstanbul, and there comes the motive for what Meyersson takes careful pains to analyse: ballot fraud in these two symbolic cities.

For context, Erdoğan claimed victory with about 70 percent of the votes counted shortly before midnight. In Ankara in particular, districts typically loyal to the CHP were some of the last to be registered. In other words, any claims of irregularities could only be found during the final moments of the count. With “victory” already called for incumbent Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, any legal challenge would then be left to the courts.

At the time of writing, the Ankara Election Board have rejected CHP’s call for a recount. Their own figures put them ahead, and their final appeal to the Supreme Election Board (or YSK) for a recount will be decided on 5 April.

Meanwhile, here’s Asst. Prof. Meyersson’s detailed overhaul of the count in those two cities. (Short read: there’s enough doubt to warrant a recount.):

Erik Meyersson

Note 1: This post may get updated as additional information on Ankara’s election comes in.

Note 2: This post has now been updated with data from Istanbul – see here)

Note 3: Added two graphs showing party-specific relationships between vote shares and invalid ballot shares. Hat tip for doing these kinds of graphs comes from Twitter user @merenbey.

Note 4: Added heterogenous results showing CHP being penalized by higher invalid shares of ballots much more in above-median pro-CHP districts than in below-median pro-CHP districts.

Having seen tweets on numerous alleged voting irregularities in Turkey and thanks to Twitter user @erenyanik I came across this CHP/STS dataset of voting data in the Greater Municipality of Ankara, one of the tightly contested (less than a percentage point in the vote share) mayor elections between Melih Gökçek and Mansur Yavaş. The dataset includes 12,230 ballot boxes across 1,682 voting locations in 25 districts in Ankara. I didn’t collect the data itself and…

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WikiLeaks / Stratfor on Gülen, Doğan Media Group, & AKP

Concerning AKP – Gulen relationship: Gulen officially supports a political party for the first time. However, Erdogan doesn’t like him (or hates him). The entire relationship is based on mutual interests. Gulen needs a powerful political party, AKP needs broad political support. They had a major dispute over Ergenekon. At a certain point, Erdogan thought that things might get screwed and wanted to back down a bit. But Gulen insisted on deepening the probe. In the past, the entire rhetoric of the comm. was based on “tolerance”. But now, they don’t show mercy for those who don’t support them. They show target and destroy. Community acts more aggressively. Continue reading “WikiLeaks / Stratfor on Gülen, Doğan Media Group, & AKP”

Stratfor: Erdoğan Has Colon Cancer, 2 Years To Live

TR325’s business partner has an old classmate friend who was the lead surgeon on Erdogan’s most recent operation. He said that Erdogan has colon cancer, but they haven’t seen the second biopsy results yet to see if it’s metastasized. In the last operation, they cut out 20 cm of Erdogan’s colon (I just looked up that the average colon is about 1.5m long.) That’s a really significant operation. Erdogan is not going to be able to travel for a while, and he’s going to have to carry around with him a colonoscopy bag for at least 2-3 months. The prognosis is not looking good, though. The surgeon said they were estimating 2 years for him.

THE HARD-HITTING LIBERAL TURKISH newspaper Taraf dropped this bombshell yesterday, headlined ‘Stratfor Set Time Limit on Erdoğan’s Life’. Partnered with WikiLeaks‘ latest anti-secrecy missive, the Global Intelligence Files — a 50-million-strong batch of emails hacked from Stratfor, the U.S. private intelligence agency also referred to as “the shadow CIA” — the piece appeared to clear up some of the mystery surrounding Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan’s operation in late November last year for a “stomach condition“. Continue reading “Stratfor: Erdoğan Has Colon Cancer, 2 Years To Live”