Article published in Foreign Policy falsely claims that members of Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council are AKP appointees
On 5 June 2018, Foreign Policy published an article in which the author Steven A. Cook claimed that members of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) were appointed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
“In the recent elections, the state-owned Anadolu Agency called the presidential election for Erdogan well before the Supreme Electoral Council — made up of AKP appointees — could count the vast majority of ballot boxes,” the article read.
However, none of the members of the YSK was appointed by the ruling AK Party.
According to Article 79 of the Turkish Constitution, members of the YSK are elected by the members of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State. The YSK consists of seven permanent and four substitute members, six of which are elected by members of the Court of Cassation and the remaining five by members of the Council of State.
The YSK is a fully independent constitutional authority and the highest legal body in election affairs. Decisions of the YSK cannot be appealed by way of another legal body and the Council’s final decisions are absolute.
Furthermore, the aforementioned false claim in the article was immediately followed by another one.
The author presented the state-run Anadolu Agency’s announcement of the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections, which were held on 24 June 2018, before the YSK as an aberration and accordingly alleged that the YSK was thus obliged to abide by the Anadolu Agency’s unofficial results. The author also called the YSK “a mere prop” and the elections “AKP’s electoral theater” against the backdrop of these false claims.
“This prompted Erdogan to appear on television graciously accepting another presidential term, making it impossible for the election board to contradict Anadolu’s projection and thus rendering the board a mere prop in AKP’s electoral theater,” the article read.
In strict contrast to this allegation, news agencies’ announcement of the election results, including Anadolu, is a conventional practice in Turkey and is in no way legally binding.
Since votes are counted at the ballot boxes as soon as the voting procedure ends, all news agencies are allowed to get the results and announce them. The YSK mostly announces the exact results days after news agencies because it – or its lower bodies – reviews all objections to the election results in the following days, from objections to a single ballot box to objections to the elections as a whole.