Eleven days before critical elections that could unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his supporters resort to accusations of terrorism as the government continues arrests.
*Updated at 5:09 pm (CET)
Interior minister targets wife of Istanbul mayor
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu’s wife Dilek İmamoğlu, who greeted the crowd with a victory sign at the Van (Wan) rally yesterday. Soylu said, “Ekrem İmamoğlu attended a rally in Van with his wife. They waved the HDP flag and made the victory sign, which is a sign of the PKK.”
Islamist party protested in Trabzon
Protestors have objected to the Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) election campaign stall in the northern province of Trabzon. The stand was removed from the street following protests from the public.
HÜDA-PAR recently announced its support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led People’s Alliance.
Crackdown on Kurds continues
The pre-election wave of arrests has continued as Turkish police detained several people in dawn raids on their homes in Silopi in the southeastern Şırnak (Şirnex) province on Wednesday. A Turkish court sent five people, including two Kurdish journalists, to prison on Tuesday, World Press Freedom Day.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s massive rallies in Kurdish provinces go viral on social media
After the great enthusiasm received by Kılıçdaroğlu at his rallies in Kurdish-majority provinces on Tuesday went viral on social media, supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) became more aggressive in their accusations of terrorism against the opposition.
Erdoğan supporters escalate terrorism accusations after Dilek İmamoğlu makes victory sign
As Kılıçdaroğlu addressed the people in Van (Wan) and Ağrı (Agiri) yesterday, vice presidential candidate and Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu also attracted large crowds in Batman (Êlih), a southeastern city with a large Kurdish population. İmamoğlu’s wife Dilek İmamoğlu greeted the crowd with a victory sign during the rally, which was interpreted as “supporting terrorism” by pro-government media outlets and Erdoğan supporters on social media.
“The ruling of international law will not harm anyone,” İmamoğlu said at his Batman rally, referring to former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been detained since November 2016 in spite of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordering his “immediate release” in 2020.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan continues campaigning with the same accusation. At a rally on Tuesday, Erdoğan slammed the opposition’s promise to release Demirtaş in line with ECHR rulings, calling Demirtaş a “terrorist”.
Opposition scales up efforts to ensure fair voting
As the government’s aggressive rhetoric against the opposition intensifies, public concerns about election security are growing. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced that it is working to ensure fair and secure elections with several different plans, taking into account the worst-case scenarios.
CHP campaign vehicle catches fire, arson suspected
The campaign vehicle of a CHP parliamentary candidate caught fire in Istanbul’s Silivri district on Tuesday night. Police are investigating the possibility of arson.
Green Left Party campaign stand becomes target of attack
A number of people at a pro-Kurdish Green Left Party campaign stall in Edirne were attacked by unidentified people. Three party members were injured and the police detained five members who had been attacked.
CHP official shares footage regarding interior ministry’s unlawful election preparation
After the CHP discovered that the Interior Ministry was setting up an election monitoring board in parallel the official election authority, Muharrem Erkek, member of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board and CHP’s election and legal affairs official, shared the related footage on Twitter.
“The Interior Ministry has asked all governorships to create an election monitoring module,” said Erkek in a press conference on Tuesday. According to the request, the ministry will assign between three and ten staff for each district, depending on the population.
“The Minister of Interior Affairs continues to act like a minister of criminal affairs,” said Erkek, and called on officials to “disobey this unlawful order, not be a partner in this crime.”