Pro-gov’t Turkish TV station airs ‘results’ 3 days before elections

A pro-government television station accidentally aired “results” showing the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with 53 percent of the vote in the early hours of Thursday morning, three days before the June 24 elections, according to a report by neo-nationalist news outlet Odatv.

At around 2 a.m. on Thursday, the “Akıl Odası” program on the pro-government TVNet, the sister channel to the Islamist Yeni Şafak newspaper, cut to a rolling results screen for “Elections 2018” apparently provided by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) showing pre-entered values for the final election results, all the way down to the provincial level.

In the TV broadcast, Erdoğan won 53 percent of the vote; Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 26 percent; İYİ Party presidential candidate Meral Akşener, 12 percent; pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) jailed presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, 7 percent; and remaining candidates Temel Karamollaoğlu and Doğu Perinçek 1 percent each.

Demirtaş’s proposed percentage, which is lower than polls suggest, may represent the hope of whoever input the numbers that his HDP does not pass the 10 percent election threshold, thus leaving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with almost a guarantee of a renewed majority in Parliament.

Şenol Kazancı, director general of Anadolu, which has been widely criticised for its massive efforts at manipulation during previous elections, said on Wednesday that AA is ready for the country’s June 24 presidential and parliamentary polls as it has finished preparations to make the election results available “quickly and accurately.”

The agency will obtain data from the official reports prepared and signed by all parties’ representatives and convey them to the public, he explained. Kazancı also claimed that international news agencies praised AA’s accuracy in giving elections results 100 percent correctly and quickly when some 50 million people cast ballots.

He also said AA is doing all its work at the international level following universal guidelines, making the agency the fastest, most impartial and reliable media organ.

Kazanci brushed aside any attempts to defame the agency’s work. “We’re doing our own business. Our only concern is to do our best and with our staff, we’ll do it with dedication for the June 24 elections,” he claimed.

Turkish voters will go to the polls on June 24. Six candidates are running for president, while eight political parties are taking part in the parliamentary elections. If the presidential election goes to a second round, then voters will again go to the polls one of the following Sunday.

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