Washington, D.C.—The Voice of America provided extensive coverage of the parliamentary elections in Turkey over the weekend as the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) won enough votes to give Kurds a voice in Parliament for the first time and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Democracy Party (AKP) lost a majority in Parliament.
VOA coverage was enhanced by live news feeds from Mutlu Civiroglu (VOA Kurdish) and Alparslan Esmer (VOA Turkish) and by reports filed by VOA’s network of freelance reporters on the ground in Turkey. In addition, VOA’s 43 other language services carried reports on the elections.
As the election approached last week, VOA Turkish broadcaster Esmer interviewed HDP official Hafize Ipek in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir. Ipek told VOA, “‘the ruling party’s goal is to prevent HDP from getting over the 10 percent threshold and keep the Kurds unrepresented in Turkish politics. Our goal is to assure polling station and vote security to avoid fraud.” The HDP needed to win at least 10 percent of the national vote to enter Parliament. By winning more than 13 percent on Sunday, the HDP denied President Erdogan’s ruling AKP party a majority.
VOA Turkish posted a Special Election Page on its website featuring interviews with political leaders and candidates, and its coverage has been available in Turkey on Mynet.com, one of the country’s leading news and entertainment Internet portals.
VOA also reported on voting by approximately 90,000 Turkish voters in the United States, 22 percent of whom cast ballots at the Turkish Embassy and at consulates in nine U.S. cities.
VOA Kurdish broadcaster Mutlu Civiroglu reported from Istanbul and then traveled to southeastern Turkey, a predominantly Kurdish-populated region, to file reports and video for VOA Kurdish and English programming. He filed video and photos from the scene of the bomb blast at an HDP political rally in Diyarbakir, Turkey two days before the election.
VOA Kurdish stringer Salih Turan in Istanbul sent photos, videos, and interviewed voters. He also filed reports for radio and provided content for VOA’s Kurdish websites.
On Sunday, after the votes were counted and HDP’s electoral breakthrough was known, Khajijan Farqeen, a reporter for VOA’s Kurdish Service, filed on the joyous celebrations in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.