The leaders of two of Turkey’s opposition parties on Saturday warned the people and the government of possible attempts to intervene in the elections.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, presidential candidate of the six-party Nation Alliance and leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), called for common sense ahead of the elections in a series of tweets.
“Put an end to this dirty rhetoric. People see where you want to go with your unthinkable dirty games and accusations. We are heading towards elections, not war. The government has changed hands many times, we have always continued on our way. I know that there will be dirty tricks in the last 10 days. And I tell them: A bit of common sense,” Kılıçdaroğlu wrote.
The opposition leader said that the people in Turkey wished for peace in the final two weeks before the 14 May polls.
“You called the elections a coup. You likened your own people to those who fought the Battle of Uhud. You portrayed our people as occupiers. Where will you stop?” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to Süleyman Soylu, the country’s interior minister, who on Friday called the 14 May elections a possible coup attempt against the government, and to Numan Kurtulmuş, deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who on Thursday called on his party’s polling representatives to protect the votes on 14 May, likening the ballot boxes to Mount Uhud in Saudi Arabia’s Medina, which witnessed a historical battle between Muslims and non-believers in 625AD.
“I will continue to fulfil the responsibility that falls on my shoulders and call for common sense. Because Satan runs to help those who lose their common sense. Restrain yourselves, otherwise this hatred will swallow all of us,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his last tweet.
Following the CHP leader’s warnings, Ahmet Davutoğlu, leader of the conservative Future Party, shared a video on Twitter, talking about possible interventions in the election which could also target the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Davutoğlu, who before parting ways with Erdoğan served as foreign minister and later prime minister in the AKP, said at the beginning of his video that he felt it his historical responsibility as a citizen to issue a serious warning, given the ruling party’s use of discriminatory and threatening rhetoric.
The politician referred to abuse and attacks against Kılıçdaroğlu, one at a graveyard and another actually within the enclosure of the shrine of a religious leader in the last days of Ramadan, and Erdoğan’s rally following prayers in İstanbul’s historical Blue Mosque on the first day of the Islamic holiday marking the end of Ramadan, saying that these incidents were incendiary.
He referred to Binali Yıldırım, another former AKP prime minister, who had said that they would not surrender the country to foreign invaders on 14 May.
He referred to Bekir Bozdağ, the minister of justice, who said this week that on the night of 14 May some people would drink champagne or others would observe prayers of gratitude, and to Bozdağ’s comment that the opposition parties were backed by terrorist organisations.
“Whoever is backed by terrorist organisations, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Justice to uncover them and mobilise prosecutors against them,” Davutoğlu said.
Finally, like Kılıçdaroğlu, Davutoğlu also referred to Soylu and his words portraying a potential defeat of the government in the elections as a coup.
“For the first time in Turkey, a politician is seeing elections as a coup,” Davutoğlu said. “This is in any case a disgrace for a politician who believes in democracy and democratic elections, but at the same time it is extremely dangerous,” he added.
“If a Minister of Interior sees the election as a coup, it means that he also thinks he has full authority to take any measures to prevent those elections,” Davutoğlu said. “In other words, this is an attempt to legitimise all interventions in elections by claiming to prevent a coup,” he continued.
The politician issued warnings to all the people he had referred to, telling them that the path they have chosen is the wrong one and constituted a violation of Turkish criminal law, which forbids provocation of the people to hatred against a particular group.
“In the circumstances, I want to make a public call,” Davutoğlu said, reminding Erdoğan that for years he had stood by him in various illegal attempts to overthrow AKP governments.
“All of those statements constitute an intervention against the will of the people,” Davutoğlu said.
“Some circles may make an attempt to intervene in the will of the people on the pretext of filling a gap, using your sickness as an excuse,” Ahmet Davutoğlu said, referring to medical problems Recep Tayyip Erdoğan experienced this week forcing him to rest for three days.
“Your mission of priority as President of the Turkish Republic is to ensure that the elections will be held in a democratic environment on 14 May,” Davutoğlu said, addressing Erdoğan, while also calling him to put an end to polarising rhetoric.
“This is also the most critical moment in your political career,” he said.
“Governments are temporary, but the state is permanent,” the politician said to the public institutions and civil servants who will work in elections, to the security forces, governors, and poll observers.
Davutoğlu called on all public officials to disregard any instructions guiding them to intervene in the elections on the grounds of preventing a foreign invasion or protecting the state from a government cooperating with terrorist organisations.