404,000 security forces on duty for Turkey's election day
In this Anadolu Agency photo dated June 4, 2015, police officers are seen while taking measures as a nationalist group attacks the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) rally in the eastern Turkish province of Erzurum.The Turkish government maintains security during the June 7 general elections with a total of 404,000 security personnel.
Some 300,000 police officers will be on duty throughout the day, Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk said on June 5 in a televised interview, adding that the rest of the personnel will be gendarmerie.
Playing down attacks scores of attacks on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including deadly ones, Öztürk claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was subject to attacks in eastern and southeastern Turkey, adding that a total of 531 “election crimes” had been recorded as of June 4.
Election safety has been a hot item on the agenda during campaigning ahead of the June 7 vote. Regarding ballot box security, Öztürk said security personnel will remain 15 meters away from ballot boxes.
“They will intervene if anyone says ‘I fell a threat,’ and election board members and observers should help on this issue too,” he added, referring to the legally set distance that security forces should remain from voting area.
With only few days left until the election, the government had decided to open new departments of riot police and special operations in several provinces.
Related decisions by the cabinet were published in the Official Gazette early on June 4 and went into force immediately, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
These new departments will primarily be rural organizations directly connected to the National Police Department’s headquarters.
Accordingly, in the Adana, Diyarbakır, Erzurum and Van provinces, riot police departments, along with four branches for each of these departments, have been founded.
Meanwhile, in the Adana, Antalya, Batman, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, İstanbul, Samsun and Van provinces, special operations departments and four corresponding branches for each department have been founded.
The cabinet made the decision on April 27 upon an initiative of the Interior Ministry, Anadolu Agency reported.