Fateful elections in Turkey
Many reports about “irregularities” in the presidential and parliamentary elections (Press Release)
According to research by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the elections in Turkey on Sunday did not go without considerable manipulations – especially in the Kurdish areas in the east of the country. “Friends of our human rights organization informed us that, in many places, ballots had been filled out prior to the elections,” stated Kamal Sido – the STP’s Middle East Consultant, who is in constant contact with many people in Turkish Kurdistan – in Göttingen on Monday. According to the STP, Kurdish activists in Pirsûs (Turkish: Suruç) in the south-eastern Anatolian province of Sanliurfa even managed to document such activities with their mobile phones.
There are reports that Erdogan-supporters were able to put previously filled out ballots in ballot boxes – under the eyes of the Turkish security forces – in parts of the Kurdish regions of Turkey as well as in the rural areas of Sanliurfa, Mus, Bingol, Kahramanmaras, Mardin, Batman, Diyarbakir, Sirt, and Bitlis. In these areas, potential voters of the pro-Kurdish HDP party often had to walk up to ten kilometers on foot to the polling stations.
“Due to the state of emergency, fair and democratic elections became impossible – especially in the Kurdish areas, where the police and armed forces had been very present during the last few weeks, so that the HDP could not freely present itself with their election program,” Sido criticized. However, the people refused to be intimidated, despite Erdogan’s demonstration of power. “The people are less and less afraid of Erdogan’s thugs – as became clear with the masses of people who took part in the election campaigns of the opposition, the Kemalist CHP and the HDP.” Many Kurdish activists were beaten by Erdogan-supporters. There were injuries – and people even got killed. In Turkey, especially in the Kurdish areas, the state of emergency (as a consequence of the coup attempt in the summer of 2016) was followed by massive restrictions of fundamental rights.
Many Kurds hope that the pro-Kurdish HDP will be able to pass the ten-percent threshold and move into parliament, as this could contribute to breaking the total rule of the bloc of the Islamist AKP and the ultranationalist MHP. A strong Kurdish/opposition faction in the Turkish parliament could become a threat to Erdogan’s “one-man rule”.
Header Picture: geralt via pixabay