The opposition’s joint candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu could end President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 21-year reign in Turkey’s critical elections, with open support from the pro-Kurdish voting bloc.
However, the harsher tone of the ruling bloc towards the opposition, the violent incidents, increasingly sharp polarisation and the wave of operations and arrests against pro-Kurdish circles are exacerbating the country’s precarious situation with only five days to go before the elections.
*Updated at 4:26 pm (CET)
Turkish interior minister accuses opposition of intention to establish “terrorist state”
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Tuesday praised the removal of elected mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Kurdish-majority cities and the appointment of government trustees in their place. https://artigercek.com/politika/suleyman-soylu-secimin-kararini-bu-millet-verecek-ama-249158h
Soylu also, once again, accused those who want to see an end to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidency of being manipulated by foreign powers that intend to “establish a terrorist state in Turkey’s south”. He argued that international media outlets such as Der Spiegel, French magazines, and The Economist are calling for Erdoğan’s removal because foreign powers’ plans contradict Turkey’s strategic goals.
CHP seeks to block posters linking the party with PKK in Turkey’s election campaign
The ruling bloc is preparing to hang posters that show the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) together, in all 81 provinces of Turkey, announced Tuncay Özkan, the press advisor to the CHP.
Özkan also stated that the CHP has applied to the Supreme Electoral Council to prevent this from happening. He alleged that the AKP Youth Branch and some associations are behind this move to associate the CHP with the PKK. Özkan accused them of planning to use billboards with photos of PKK leaders and CHP logos. He emphasised that the CHP has no hidden links to the PKK and that this campaign would “harm Turkey’s fight against terrorism”.
CHP objects to collection of election results by law enforcement
CHP’s Istanbul Provincial Chairwoman, Canan Kaftancıoğlu, has criticised the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s decision to task the police and gendarmerie with collecting election results. Kaftancıoğlu stated that the responsibility for the elections lies with the Supreme Election Council and the political parties, and that any attempt to interfere with this process would be illegal. She also accused the government of attempting to manipulate the results of the upcoming elections by using the police and gendarmerie to collect data.
The decision by the interior ministry has raised concerns among opposition parties that the government is attempting to exert greater control over the electoral process. The Turkish government has been accused of suppressing opposition voices and limiting political freedoms in recent years, and many fear that this latest move is part of a wider effort to manipulate the upcoming elections. The CHP, along with other opposition parties, has called for greater transparency and fairness in the electoral process, and has vowed to challenge any attempts to interfere with the outcome of the vote.
Pro-Kurdish opposition invites people to final election rallies
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Green Left Party members continue their election campaigns in every province, calling on citizens to attend the party’s election rallies over the next few days, in the final run up to the 14 May.
The party will hold rallies in Ağrı (Agiri) on May 11, Izmir on May 12, and Diyarbakır (Amed) on May 13.
Left-wing opposition promises earthquake reconstruction
Green Left Party-led Labour and Freedom Alliance held a rally on Tuesday in quake-hit Hatay. The politicians addressed the government’s inadequate response in the region to the earthquake and promised reconstruction efforts.
Socialist Reconstruction Party (SYKP) Co-chair Canan Yüce declared that the anger of those who suffered during the earthquake would be reflected in the ballot boxes. The meeting was well-attended and received by the public, signalling growing support in the region for the left-wing bloc.
Specialised sergeant dismissed after attack on Istanbul mayor İmamoğlu in electoral rally
The Turkish Ministry of National Defence has announced that a specialised army sergeant M. Akif Keleş has been detained in connection with a recent attack on the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, during an election rally in northeast Erzurum. According to the ministry, Keleş, who was serving at the Erzurum Central Command, was immediately subject to an administrative investigation after his involvement in the incident, and his contract was terminated as a result of the findings. In 2021 Keleş had been cleared of charges related to alleged involvement with an armed terrorist organisation.
Attackers led by AKP parliamentary candidate target coffeehouse in western Izmir
In the Buca district of western Izmir, a cafe displaying election campaign posters of the main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP), with images of its leader and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was attacked by a group of 30 people including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary candidate Savcı Sayan. The incident resulted in the arrest of five attackers.
The attack on the coffeehouse, which was known to be a gathering place for CHP supporters, has been condemned by the opposition party. CHP officials have called for calm and urged party supporters not to be provoked by such actions.
The incident comes amid heightened tensions in the country ahead of the elections, which are expected to be closely contested. The opposition blocs have accused the government of using its power to suppress opposition voices and manipulate the election outcome.
Suspects released after stone attack on Istanbul mayor İmamoğlu in electoral rally
Fifteen suspects who were detained for their alleged involvement in the stone attack on the Istanbul Mayor and the opposition’s joint vice presidential candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu during an electoral rally in the northwestern province of Erzurum have been released on Monday.
Sunday’s attack left 17 people injured. According to reports, 16 people were identified as suspects, with 15 of them being taken into custody. One suspect was released after giving his testimony to the prosecutor, while the remaining 14 were released under judicial control. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and more suspects are being sought. All 17 injured individuals have been discharged from hospital.
“My Vote for Green Left Party for Honorable Life and Free Future”
A total of 246 individuals, including academics, lawyers, artists, journalists, writers, and human rights activists, have announced their support for the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party in the upcoming elections in Turkey. The group made a statement titled “My Vote for the Green Left Party for an Honorable Life and Free Future” at a press conference held in the western province of İzmir. The conference was attended by officials from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Green Left candidates from İzmir, and many citizens.
Academic Nilgün Toker, speaking at the meeting, said that they are going to the elections “under fascist conditions”, and said that they are not “in an election environment where a democratic, pluralistic competition is possible. We want to thwart a fascist regime with these elections. We are going to an election where people who have not surrendered to fascism want to show that their non-surrender will prevail. We said there is no way to lift this blockade other than to unite. We have united.”
The statement of the 246 individuals emphasises the importance of a new constitution, the separation of powers, the establishment of a strong local democracy, the democratic and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue, and the end to discrimination and oppression against LGBTI+ individuals, among other things.