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Ahead of Turkey's Critical General Election, a Fact-Checking Website Analyses Political Statements

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Elections are will take place in Turkey on June 7 and candidates will say anything to get heard. But how can citizens know what and what not to believe?

Doğruluk Payı remains the only surviving and extensive website to function as a fact-checking service in Turkey.

Funded by the Istanbul-based ideas group Dialogue For Common Future Association, the website has a five-level rating system that helps users sort political statements in terms of their truthfulness.

The rankings are determined as follows:

a) The statement is true b) Mostly true c) Partially true d) Mostly not true e) No truth

Public statements are monitored by a large pool of volunteers while five editors provide their evaluations. Data-based statements are analysed and the editors determine their truth  according to the scale above.

In addition to continually analysing the utterances of political leaders, the website keeps a tab on government promises. According to their analysis, the ruling party, AKP (Justice and Development) kept only 30% of the promises it made in the 2011 elections.

The website recently released an election report which determines how accurate leaders’ pre-election statements were. Based on 408 statements made by 159 figures from the four major parties and a few others the general accuracy rate is 5.7/10, meaning that candidates are lying fairly often.

According to the report officials from the pro-Kurdish HDP speak the truth most often.

While the ruling AKP party patronised by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is below par and Turkey's oldest political party, the Kemalist CHP does somewhat better.

Whether truth will play a role in the campaign is another matter. The AKP party can count on swathes of the Turkish media to push its message as Erdogan seeks a majority to bolster his position and possibly move the country closer to a presidentialist, authoritarian system. The stakes are high, and the seemingly truthful HDP are the only party capable of causing an upset to the political order.

This post is the third in a series looking at how online tools are making a contribution to the electoral process in Turkey. For further reading, please see: Covering Turkey's General Election, One Tool at a Time and Data Set Demonstrates Attacks on Turkish Opposition Party's Campaign Offices Are Systematic.

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