Turkey will elect a new parliament and is in a position to elect a new president in the 14 May elections that will shape the country’s future. After more than 20 years in power, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finds himself neck-and-neck with the joint candidate of the opposition, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
With just four days to go until the elections, the ruling bloc’s accusations of “collaboration with terrorism” against the opposition persist, while the main opposition and the left-wing blocs backing Kılıçdaroğlu in the presidential elections continue campaigning at full speed.
*Updated at 2:30 pm (CET)
AKP deputy chairman says attack on İmamoğlu overshadowed AKP’s Istanbul rally
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman Numan Kurtulmuş condemned the recent stone-throwing attack on Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, saying that it had overshadowed the AKP rally in Istanbul, which he claimed had attracted nearly two million people: “We should not be involved in actions that will comfort those who want to deviate from democratic ways.”
Dozens of citizens were seriously injured in a stone-throwing attack during a speech by Imamoglu in Erzurum last Sunday. Fifteen suspects detained in connection with the incident were released on Monday, while nine suspects detained later were released on Wednesday, all pending further investigation.
The attack on İmamoglu has been widely condemned by opposition parties and civil society organisations, with many calling for a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Controversy continues over interior ministry’s election monitoring system
Mustafa Şentop, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, commented on the interior ministry’s controversial election monitoring system on Wednesday in a TV broadcast saying, “I don’t know about this, the ministry should make a statement.”
Şentop stated that there have been no dubious elections in Turkey and that election results are based on the data of the Supreme Election Board (YSK). He added, “The data of the YSK is shared with the parties. It is possible to follow it. Will there be mistakes? There may be mistakes. But the process itself offers space to correct mistakes.”
The Interior Ministry’s Security and Emergency Situations Coordination Centre (GAMER) recently requested ballot box information from the YSK, which rejected the request.
Following the YSK’s refusal to comply, the ministry decided that the police and gendarmerie would collect the ballot box results and send them to GAMER.
Young people living abroad campaign to support opposition: “You ask us and we’ll come back”
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and presidential candidate for the Nation Alliance, has expressed his support for a campaign started by Boğaziçi University graduates living in various countries, called, “You ask us and we’ll come back.”
Kılıçdaroğlu shared the young campaigners’ videos on his personal Twitter account saying, “Come back, my children. This country needs you. Your dreams are my goals.”
The campaign was started in response to a call by Kılıçdaroğlu for young people living abroad to return to Turkey. Boğaziçi University graduates currently working abroad created a joint video in which they talk about their dreams for Turkey, saying “Ask us and we’ll come back.”
Kılıçdaroğlu’s support for the campaign was seen as a positive step by many, as it highlights the importance of encouraging talented young people to return to Turkey, contribute to the country’s development and build a better future. The campaign has gained widespread attention on social media, with many people sharing their support for the initiative.
Green Left Party to transport 4,470 voters from Turkey’s western Aegean region
The pro-Kurdish Green Left Party earlier launched a campaign to encourage voters not living in the cities where they are registered to vote, to cast their ballots in the coming presidential and general elections. To achieve this goal, the party arranged for transportation to be provided to voters who needed to travel in order to vote.
In the Aegean region of Turkey, the party received over 4,470 applications from voters. The party has already arranged for 55 buses to transport these voters to their registered cities on 12 and 13 May, so that they can cast their votes.
Opposition campaign bus stoned by teenager
Kılıçdaroğlu’s campaign bus was the target of a stone-throwing attack after a rally in the northwestern province of Sakarya on Tuesday. The stone-thrower was arrested, but when Kılıçdaroğlu learned that the boy was just 15 years old he refused to press charges, and the boy was released from custody.
Erdoğan announces attendance figure for rally before it happens
Erdoğan said on Tuesday that 55,000 people had attended his Justice and Development Party (AKP) rally in the western Aydın city on Tuesday, and that the attendance figure for the CHP rally in the same city was 27,000 – but the CHP rally in Aydın was not due to be held until Wednesday. In response, CHP Aydın Provincial Chairman Hikmet Saatçı said, “He [Erdoğan ] has started giving figures from a rally that hasn’t even taken place yet!”
AKP politicians continue accusing opposition of collusion with terrorist groups
AKP deputy chair Binali Yıldırım made some controversial statements on the coming elections on Tuesday, with some calling them dangerous. Yıldırım said, “in these elections, terrorist organisations have been brought to the ballot box for the first time”. This statement followed remarks by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who referred to the 14 May elections as a “coup attempt”. Soylu had previously said, “The 14 May 2023 is a political coup attempt by the West to liquidate Turkey”. Comments by members of the ruling bloc, increasingly egregious as the elections approach, have been criticised for their divisive nature
All-time high: Ex-pat voters break record
Participation in the external voting process for the presidential and parliamentary elections, which started on 27 April and ended on 9 May (Tuesday) and was held in 73 countries with over 5,000 ballot boxes, reached a record high of 1.8 million votes . Citizens of Turkey living abroad have been able to vote in Turkish elections and referenda since 2012 following legal amendments to the electoral legislation in that year.