Turkey watches grid as conspiracy theories rise

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 02.11.2015 01:14

Counting ballots and keeping an eye out for voter fraud are not the only tasks Turkish authorities are burdened with on election day. Interim Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Ali Rıza Alaboyun claimed yesterday that Turkey is the only country where a government official is forced to assure the public that power outages will not occur during elections.

Disabusing conspiracy theories linking planned power outages to massive electoral fraud, authorities stepped up measures yesterday to ensure a steady supply of electricity would be available throughout the general elections.

Ali Rıza Alaboyun was in the coordinator center for grids supplying power all across the country throughout today to ensure everything was in order.

"I believe there isn't any other country in the world where the energy minister is forced to say ‘there will not be power outages' today, but this is what I have to do today because of misperceptions, false reports and news stories, and this is why we set up a coordination center to monitor the grids," Alaboyun told reporters in Ankara as he received updates from grid managers around Turkey.

Alaboyun ruled out any connections between power outages and electoral fraud, noting that Turkey even postponed daylight saving time to prevent a lack of lighting from hindering voting and vote counting during the election. The minister said 4,000 security personnel from the ministry and 8,000 members from various law enforcement agencies were deployed to protect the power grids, especially the grids in southeastern Turkey where electoral fraud reports poured in during the June 7 elections.

The minister said Turkey has power lines spanning a length of 1.2 million kilometers and tens of thousands of power transformers and distribution centers. He said only a few cases of minor equipment malfunction were detected today, and the power was quickly restored in those cases.

As was the case with the past elections, concerns over election security were high. The opposition parties believed that fraud would be committed at polling stations under the cover of "deliberate" power outages.

Turkey does not have an electronic voting system and there were no reports of power outages as the news went to print at the time of the post-election vote count.

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