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LOCAL > HDP office attacked in southern town of Fethiye in latest assault on party

FETHİYE - Doğan News Agency

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Mayor Behçet Saatçi, who was elected on the ticket of the Nationalist Movement Party in 2009, ordered firefighters to remove the HDP sign from the building and its replacement with Turkish flags. DHA photo

Mayor Behçet Saatçi, who was elected on the ticket of the Nationalist Movement Party in 2009, ordered firefighters to remove the HDP sign from the building and its replacement with Turkish flags. DHA photo

A nationalist group marched on the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) election office in the southwestern resort district of Fethiye March 9 in the latest attack on the party’s offices in areas around Turkey.

As the crowd grew, Mayor Behçet Saatçi, who was elected on the ticket of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in 2009, ordered firefighters to remove the HDP sign from the building and its replacement with Turkish flags. Protesters also threw rocks at the building, breaking windows.

District Gov. Ekrem Çalık attempted to calm the crowd, saying: “I call the people of Fethiye to reason. These kinds of events hurt Fethiye’s image. No one can obstruct the exercise of one’s democratic rights.”

As in previous cases, the Fethiye attack appeared to have been generated by social media. A Facebook event created under the title “Time to drive the terrorist partisan party from Fethiye,” called on locals to congregate two hours before the HDP’s scheduled opening, saying, “We are gathering to prevent the Fethiye wing of the HDP, the sister party of the BDP bastards, from conducting its opening.”

The HDP was formed last October as an umbrella party, encompassing the predominantly Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and a number of leftist parties ahead of the March 30 local elections.

The attack was the latest in a series of incidents that that have targeted the HDP. In February, around 1,000 nationalists attacked the party’s campaign work in Urla in İzmir, while right-wing activists assaulted HDP offices in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray last week. On March 7, far-right supporters attacked a taxi transporting party co-chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü in the Black Sea province of Ordu on March 7, prompting the party to cancel an event scheduled for the following day in the adjacent province of Giresun.

In the wake of the Aksaray attack, the HDP released a statement on March 5, saying the party would begin providing “for its own security” if police failed to protect its campaign activities.

March/09/2014

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