All measures taken for possible power cuts during election, Turkey's energy minister says

FATIH ŞEMSETTIN IŞIK @semssami
ANKARA
Published

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız has said that strict measures are being taken to avoid power outages on the day of the parliamentary elections and the opposition is not going to be allowed to using power outages as an excuse to slander the election process. He said: "Hopefully, [the opposition] will not take this opportunity. No matter how much they try, we will not give them this opportunity."

Speaking to the press on Tuesday in Kayseri, Yıldız accused the opposition of creating a perception that a power outage will take place on election day and said that there was no such thing as somebody's vote not being counted because of a power outage both in local elections and in the presidential election last year. "There is a high expectation that power cuts will happen on election day. This is far removed from reality. The opposition also has a big share in it," he said, and added: "I talked with the head of the Supreme Election Board and asked whether there is a party that applied [to the institution] because its votes were not counted. There is no such thing as somebody's vote not being counted based on power cuts. There is no-one whose vote was not counted for any reason."

Yıldız claimed that the opposition proposes the possibility of power outages as a pretext since they understand that they will lose the elections: "As they see the survey results, they are already seeking an excuse. They say the elections are rigged. This is perception management."

Explaining some of the measures that are being taken to ensure the smooth running of the elections, Yıldız said that helicopters will be ready for immediate interventions, adding: "Repairs and maintenance are being done all over Turkey. Let's say that there is overheating, a risk or an extraordinary event in some place. The helicopters detect it and notify repair and maintenance. We will carry this out immediately."

He also stressed that measures have been taken to protect against a cyberattack and the elections will take place in a safe environment. "We hope that we will not be faced with a problem on the election day. We have taken measures. There is online access through 21 domains and peer-to-peer communication in certain places. I think that we will conduct election day without being exposed to such a cyberattack or having a problem with the system."

On March 31, a power outage affected half of Turkey, with 44 out of 81 provinces suffering from the incident, which lasted 12 hours. According to an article published in the U.S.-based newspaper, the New York Observer, the massive power outage in Turkey was caused by Iran. The article claims: "The blackout in Turkey was caused by a cyberhack that originated in Iran." The article also indicates that it began with Yemen and Turkey's supporting Saudi Arabia's coalition and the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

Following the incident, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: "We're considering all probabilities behind the nationwide power outage, including a cyberattack."

Alongside the measures taken against cyberattacks and power outages by the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, the head of the Supreme Election Board, Sadi Güven, said on Apr. 9 that all ballot boxes have been supplied with generators. Güven said: "We have determined all courthouses and workplaces of local election boards have generators to use during power outages. We have also ensured that generators have been supplied for those places without one."

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