All measures to be taken to make Nov 1 polls safe: Erdoğan
Security forces will take all necessary measures to ensure election safety on Nov. 1 in a bid to avoid the repetition of problems that allegedly occurred in the June 7 polls, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“I believe our government, our Armed Forces and Interior Ministry will take all measures for election safety so that we’ll get through [the polls] with minor damage,” Erdoğan told reporters late Aug. 30 on the sidelines of a Victory Day reception. “I presume that what happened in the June 7 [elections] will not be repeated on Nov. 1 as part of election safety.”
Erdoğan has previously alleged that voters in southeastern and eastern Anatolian provinces were not free to cast votes due to threats and pressure imposed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). There had been reports that the government would transport voters to certain polling stations in order to avoid alleged PKK pressure, but Erdoğan said Aug. 30 that a constitutional amendment was required to do so.
“People think it’s possible if the Supreme Election Board (YSK) decides on it. No, it’s not. That would require a constitutional amendment,” he said.
Fight against terror will continue
In response to growing criticisms and accusations that he launched the fight against terror in an angry response to the ruling party’s failure to win a parliamentary majority in the June 7 polls, Erdoğan said the anti-terror fight would continue with determination regardless of his opponents’ accusations.
“They will either bury their weapons or they will leave this country. No one has the right to ruin this people’s comfort, either in the east, west, north or south. This is not a country where a few looters and terrorists have a free hand. They will pay the price,” he said.
Touching on frequent calls from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to the PKK to halt its military actions in response to state aggression, Erdoğan said he did not find them “sincere.”
“They won 80 deputies in the elections. The situation had to become better and objective after the polls but what really happened? It has become worse, awful. Instead of returning to parliament, they have come to serve [the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq]. We have to see this reality,” he said.
Fate of Kurdish peace process
Recalling earlier statements that the Kurdish peace process had been frozen, Erdoğan said, “The process can be taken out of the fridge on the day when welfare, happiness and comfort is provided in Turkey.”
Asked about the launching of aerial operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inside Syria, Erdoğan said it was not a new process and that Turkey was already collaborating with coalition forces in the struggle.
“As you know, DAESH [Arabic acronym for ISIL] has begun to threaten our borders. It has a presence in Jarablus. This step has been taken after the center decided that the coalition members should act against this. But that does not mean that our operations against the separatist terrorist organization [the PKK] will fully cease,” he said.