İHD Interim Report on Violations in Local Elections of 31 March 2024


Interim Report on Violations in Local Elections of 31 March 2024


31 March 2024


The Human Rights Association is a voluntary human rights organization, independent of the state, government and political parties, which has been observing parliamentary elections, local elections and referendums held in Turkey since its establishment in 1986, making statements and writing reports on their results, and exchanging views with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Department for Democracy and Human Rights on these issues. The Election Observation Mission Report of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which incorporates the results of the observation of the 25thParliamentary Elections held on 7 June 2015, specifically states that there were no specific provisions in Turkish law for observation by international and domestic civil society observers and this was not in line with the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document. To enable independent civilian election observers to observe the elections in terms of the exercise of the right to vote and stand for election as regulated in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Annexed Protocols, the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international conventions and covenants to which Turkey is a party, we applied to the Supreme Board of Elections on 20 March 2024 to observe the local elections to be held on 31 March 2024 with a total of 300 observers consisting of our members and executives assigned by our association in 22 cities.

As in every election term, the lists of names of our members who would be independent election observers were notified to the provincial and district election boards of 22 cities, and the request to provide the necessary assistance to these independent election observers in the local elections was conveyed.

On 31 March 2024, at the beginning of the voting process, independent election observers assigned by our association in 22 provinces went to the polling centers to monitor the voting process with their name badges and identifying documents. The rights violations compiled from the information provided by the independent election observers and the news reported by the press until around 14.00, when the voting was in progress, are as follows:

  • It has been learned that security forces did not allow the 8-person observer group assigned to Siirt center; the 7-person observer group assigned to Ağrı; the 5-person independent observer group assigned to Hakkari, Yüksekova; the 14-person independent observer group assigned to Mersin; and the 46-person independent observer group assigned to Van to observe the election in some schools. It has been conveyed by the security forces that İHD delegations in Van were prevented from observing the election by a decision delivered by Van Governor’s Office.
  • We have been informed that in Dargeçit and Savur districts of Mardin, Kulp district of Diyarbakır, Yüksekova district of Hakkari, Dersim center and Nazımiye district, Şırnak center, Kars, Ağrı and Iğdır, police officers and soldiers were brought to schools en masse in minibuses, buses and armored vehicles and voted in their uniforms and some with their weapons; at some ballot boxes where security forces were registered, civilian citizens were not registered as voters.
  • It is alleged that, as in every election, mass and open voting was used in some districts and villages of Urfa, especially in the center of Urfa, and that some voters shared the ballots they cast on their social media accounts and received money for sharing.
  • In Bursa, Yusuf Yiğit, who was shot by his uncle’s sons E.Y. (36) and M.Y. in a party organized in Mustafakemalpaşa district of Bursa due to the allegation that he supported the mukhtar candidate who was not one of his relatives in the local elections, lost his life and 2 people, one of whom was a 3-year-old child, were injured.
  • In Urfa’s Halfeti district, at 05.00 in the morning, a group of armed men surrounded Hilalli Elementary School, took the observers out of the school, and held mass voting.
  • In Urfa’s Halfeti district, Halfeti Mayor and AKP candidate Şeref Albayrak and 100 people with him attempted to vote together at a secondary school in the rural Talikan (Özmüş) neighborhood.
  • In Urfa’s Ceylanpınar district, it was alleged that people who voted for AKP in exchange for money shared photos of their ballots in a WhatsApp group they set up.
  • In Diyarbakır’s Sur district, one person was killed and 11 people were wounded in a fight between two groups in Ağaçlıdere neighborhood because of a fight over the mukhtar election.
  • In Diyarbakır’s Sur district, journalists who went to the Ağaçlı rural neighborhood to follow a fight over the mukhtar elections were attacked by gunmen. Anadolu Agency, Demirören News Agency and İhlas News Agency teams faced a serious threat to their lives after the attack.
  • In Diyarbakır’s Sur district, DEM Party polling station attendant Emin Çelik was killed and 12 people, 2 of them seriously, were wounded in an armed attack during the voting process in Çirnik rural neighborhood.
  • In Diyarbakır’s Çınar district, it was reported that that AKP’s Çınar candidate made a deal for 2 million TL for a total of 1,200 votes in 4 villages, and that a contract was signed between them and the mukhtars.
  • In Şırnak, DEM Party MPs and observers reacted to the situation stating that 5,950 voters were registered at Major General Ömer Keçecigil Elementary School and there was not a single civilian among them.
  • In Şırnak’s Cizre district,a short-lived tension broke out after the AKP candidate attacked the İYİ Party ballot attendant.
  • In İzmir, a person with 92% disability was assigned to a ballot box at the 3rd floor, another person was not registered in the ballot box despite being notified to the SBE.
  • In İzmir, at Ali Şir Nevai Secondary School Ballot Box No. 1007, a person with walking difficulties was assigned to the 2nd floor, and at the same ballot box, an 82-year-old person was assigned to the 2nd
  • In Ankara’s Çankaya district, İYİ Party’s election campaign material was found in front of Turhan Feyzioğlu Elementary School.
  • In Adıyaman’s Çelikhan district, it was alleged that an official (M.Y.) voted twice in the town of Pınarbaşı.
  • In central Muş, it was reported that a woman wearing a black burqa voted three times in different ballot boxes at Mehmet Akif Ersoy Primary School No. 1108.

İHD calls on the Presidencies of the Supreme Board of Elections, and Provincial and District Boards of Election:

  • To immediately end the obstructions against the Human Rights Association’s 300 volunteers in 22 provinces to observe independent elections; ensure the safety of İHD members who are independent election observers and facilitate their observation;
  • To launch effective investigations into individuals and groups jeopardizing election security;
  • To conduct the necessary investigations into the allegations of electoral irregularities identified by İHD above and take the necessary measures;
  • To ensure the safety of members of the press who work to guarantee that citizens receive accurate and up-to-date news;
  • To take necessary measures against obstruction and attacks against mayoral candidates, lawyers authorized to file objections on behalf of political parties and political party officials.


Human Rights Association