Just nine days before the national elections that could end the 21-year reign of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s agenda is dominated by concerns over ballot security and the potential for violent incidents after the elections. Meanwhile, the opposition is determined to topple the government, with the HDP’s Pervin Buldan saying they will turn the ruling AKP into a “phantom party”.
Twitter gives grey tick to Kılıçdaroğlu’s account
Twitter gave a grey checkmark to the account of the opposition’s joint presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Kılıçdaroğlu’s grey tick quickly became a hot topic on social media, as the grey checkmark indicates that the account represents a government institution, official or multilateral organisation. In Turkey, only ministers and the president have grey checkmarks on their accounts. The CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk, has yet to explain why Kılıçdaroğlu received a pre-election grey tick.
Presidential spokesman announces they will accept the election result
“We will respect whatever the result is,” Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın told German newspaper Die Ziet on Friday in response to concerns that the election results could have violent consequences. But he also added that he believed President Erdoğan would win.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s recent description of the upcoming elections as a “political coup by the West” raised concerns among citizens that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would not accept the outcome of the elections.
What further exacerbated concerns was Erdoğan’s following speech in a rally, saying, “My nation will not surrender this country to the one who becomes president with the support he receives from Qandil [Mount Qandil, where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is based]”, referring to the PKK commanders who recently said the AKP government would collapse in the elections.
“We will turn the AKP into a phantom party”: HDP’s Buldan
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair and Green Left Party parliamentary candidate Pervin Buldan said in Ağrı (Agiri) that the upcoming elections will change the history of Turkey. On 14 May, the people will make a choice between “democracy and fascism,” Buldan said, adding, “We will make the Green Left Party a party of the entire country and we will turn the AKP into a phantom party.”
Kılıçdaroğlu warns about election night
In a TV broadcast on Thursday, Kılıçdaroğlu demanded that no one takes to the streets in the first hours of 15 May to celebrate if the opposition wins the election. Warning that there could be provocations against those celebrating on the streets on the night of the elections and that even armed people could take to the streets, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “We have to create an environment that will not allow this.”
Attacks against Green Left
Members of the Green Left Party in Turkey’s northwestern Kırklareli have been repeatedly threatened and verbally attacked, the provincial co-chairman Ertuğrul Öksüz told Duvar on Thursday. Öksüz said that recently the party members, who have filed a criminal complaint about the attacks, found their party flag was cut down and replaced with a banner reading “Selahattin Demirtaş is a terrorist,” referring to the HDP’s former jailed co-chair.
Election authorities avoid assigning opposition union members
Zülküf Güneş, co-chair of the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) Diyarbakır (Amed) branch, argued that members of the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK) are not accepted to serve on ballot committees. Güneş said that ballot box security is at risk and called on everyone to become volunteer observers at polling stations where members of opposition unions are not being assigned.