Criticizing election board’s decision on Erdoğan’s candidacy prompts probes

Investigations have been launched into social media users who criticized Turkey’s election authority over its recent decision that there is no legal obstacle to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s running as a candidate for a third term as head of state, Turkish Minute reported on Monday.

Supreme Election Board (YSK) President Ahmet Yener announced last week that the board’s members unanimously rejected all objections filed against Erdoğan’s nomination for the May 14 presidential election.

The YSK’s decision came after the members reviewed petitions recently filed by five opposition parties and members of the legal community against Erdoğan’s candidacy.

Questions have arisen about whether Erdoğan can run for a third term due to a change in the system of governance in 2017, with some claiming he is not legally eligible because he has already served two terms and cannot run for a third.

According to Turkish media reports on Monday, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched investigations into social media users who had shared posts targeting the YSK’s Yener and other members and containing “threatening” and “insulting” content.

Erdoğan was first elected president for a five-year renewable term in 2014 by a direct vote under a parliamentary system. Turkey switched to the presidential system of governance with a referendum in 2017 and held snap presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018, when Erdoğan was elected president again. Under the presidential system, a person can be elected president for a five-year renewable term if the election is held as scheduled.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) dismissed objections made to Erdoğan’s candidacy and claim there are no obstacles standing in his way.

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