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Forensic analysis shows signs of election fraud in Turkey

Concerns about the integrity of Turkey’s elections have increased with the recent transition from a parliamentary democracy to an executive presidency under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Election forensics tools are used to identify statistical traces of certain types of electoral fraud, providing important information about the integrity and validity of democratic elections. Such analyses of the 2017 and 2018 Turkish elections revealed that malpractices such as ballot stuffing or voter manipulation may indeed have played a significant role in determining the election results. Here, we apply election forensic statistical tests for ballot stuffing and voter manipulation to the results of the first round of the 2023 presidential election in Turkey.

We find that the 2023 elections exhibit similar statistical irregularities to those observed in the 2018 presidential elections, however the magnitude of these distortions has decreased. We estimate that 2.4% (SD 1.9%) of electoral units may have been affected by ballot-stuffing practices in favour of Erdogan, compared to 8.5% (SD 3.9%) in 2018. We also find that areas with few and smaller polling stations had significantly inflated vote and turnout numbers, again, in favour of Erdogan. Our results suggest that Turkish elections continue to be riddled with statistical irregularities, which may be indicative of electoral fraud.

Peter Klimek, Faculty member at the Complexity Science Hub

Peter Klimek

Stefan Thurner @ Franziska Liehl, President of the Complexity Science Hub

Stefan Thurner

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