Güven, saying that in relation to the counting of unstamped votes, ‘I cannot express my opinion; this would be a prejudicial statement,’ gave evasive replies. Voices were raised at the meeting when such matters as the manipulation made by the Anadolu Agency and the failure for data to be conveyed to the CHP for 45 minutes were brought up. Aksünger noted ‘They are not in a position to give a clear reply.’
CHP Deputy General Chair and Election Coordination Centre Chair Erdal Aksünger and a group of CHP members of parliament visited Supreme Election Council (SEC) Chair Sadi Güven with reference to the allegations of impropriety in the referendum. Güven, saying that in relation to the counting of unstamped votes, ‘I cannot express my opinion; this would be a prejudicial statement,’ said that, despite an undertaking having been given prior to the referendum that ‘Yes’ stamps would not be used, ‘Yes’ stamps may have been left over from the general election and have got mixed up. Voices were reportedly raised when discussion turned to the manipulation of the poll results by Anadolu Agency and the SEC turning a blind eye to this, and mention was made of the finding that the CHP had not obtained data from the SEC for 45 minutes. Aksünger gave the interpretation, ‘There is a defence mechanism but they are not in a position to give a clear reply. The basis of their objections is also very weak. They are very nervous. They are clearly on tenterhooks.’
The meeting, closed to the press, lasted one hour. It is reported that at times the atmosphere at the meeting became tense and shouts were exchanged. It has been gleaned that the CHP was unable to obtain replies to many or its questions, or was not satisfied with the replies obtained. The delegation, which was unable to obtain a clear reply as to the meaning of deeming unstamped voting slips and envelopes valid under a resolution that was passed after counting had started, reportedly received evasive answers.
In response to the CHP’s pronouncement on the acceptance of unstamped slips and envelopes, ‘If you stand by this resolution, this will mean that unstamped slips will also be valid in subsequent elections. This is a resolution that cannot be accepted in either legal or moral terms. You have made all subsequent elections tainted,’ Güven apparently said, stating that they had sent messages and given training to polling committee chairs that unstamped slips should not be used and they had to be sensitive on this point, ‘I cannot say anything in relation to this, because I will be on the committee that will take up your objection petition. A statement of my opinion would be a prejudicial statement.’ At the meeting, to Güven’s statement that none of the unstamped voting slips and envelopes were brought in from the outside, the delegation replied, ‘This is the making of a definitive pronouncement. Have you looked at them all individually? How can you be so sure? The purpose of the stamp in any case is for votes not to be fraudulent and slips and envelopes not to be brought in from the outside.’ In response to questions over the contradiction that unstamped votes were to be counted domestically but deemed invalid abroad and why the foreign votes did not constitute a precedent, Güven’s demeanour is said to have been that, ‘Another body took that decision.’
‘Yes’ stamps from the general elections
It was recalled that at meetings held prior to the referendum, with allegations circulating especially on social media that the ‘Yes’ stamp would be used, Güven had laughed at this and replied, ‘Is that conceivable?’ On it being noted that, despite this, ‘Yes’ stamps were used, Güven reportedly replied, ‘Stamps left over from the past, left over from the last general election, got mixed up and these were used’ and evaded responsibility. With Aksünger stating that the poll results had been manipulated by Anadolu Agency and the SEC had turned a blind eye to this, he also raised matters relating to the interruption in the flow of data from the SEC to the CHP’s Election Coordination Centre. Tensions were apparently raised and the sound of shouting rose to the upper floors while these points were discussed.