With reference to the comment A tale of two elections and three referendums by Alper Ali Riza QC published on page 13 of the Sunday Mail on April 30, 2017
May I say how much I appreciate the informed and astute comments made by Alper Ali Riza QC in his occasional columns.
However, I was rather taken back by his comment, “By a narrow majority the Turks said yes,” which takes the result officially announced by the Turkish authorities in the April 16 referendum at face value.
In fact, heading the catalogue of improprieties that marred the referendum in Turkey was the illegal decision by the Supreme Election Council (SEC), taken after the count was underway, to permit voting envelopes and slips that did not bear the requisite stamp. This is in blatant breach of an express and imperative provision of Article 101 of the election law, which the SEC is not empowered to amend. As such, this renders the poll null and makes any discussion of its result moot.
Nevertheless, were one to speculate over the distribution of votes in this void poll, consideration must be given to the compelling evidence of widespread electoral fraud, not least the emergence of large numbers of voting slips that lacked the statutorily required stamp, whose number some rumours put at two and a half million. Since the SEC’s illegal decision led to the counting of the unstamped voting slips that very many people believe to have been included among genuine voting slips in a large-scale ballot stuffing operation, the strong suspicion arises that the SEC aided and abetted an act of electoral fraud on a scale unprecedented in the history of the Republic of Turkey. This casts great doubt on the reliability of what the Turkish authorities claim to be the result.
I would be only too happy to point the gentleman in the direction of sources, in Turkish or English, that will substantiate the above points.
In light of the above, I would suggest that any conclusions based on the officially announced referendum result are spurious.
Apart from the above caveat, I hope that Alper Ali Riza QC will long continue to submit his rational and well-argued articles that come as a breath of fresh air in a sorry era in human history in which irrational prejudices are drowning out rational discourse in a way that some of us once believed could never happen again in the developed world.
Timothy Drayton, Limassol