Election security does not exist for HDP, party says
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu (C) drew attention to the fact that law enforcement officers working under the Interior Ministry had not taken the required precautions. AA PhotoThe People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) and the main opposition party have voiced concerns over the recent attacks on HDP offices and campaigners, saying election security was not being afforded to the party.
“There is no election security for the HDP,” said HDP co-chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü at a press conference in Istanbul on March 10, Doğan News Agency reported.
A nationalist group marched on the HDP election office in the southwestern resort district of Fethiye on March 9, in the latest in a series of attacks on the party’s offices across Turkey.
“We call on our government to take all measures for the security of the elections, to remove all obstacles in front of our party’s rights, and to secure a democratic election,” Kürkçü added.
On March 9, Fethiye firefighters were ordered to remove the HDP sign from the building and replace it with Turkish flags. Protesters also threw rocks at the building, breaking windows.
Kürkçü recalled this incident and said the police chief who had ordered the removal of the party’s sign from the building would have to put it back in its place. “We will not beg anyone to protect us. We can protect ourselves. But the main problem is that the citizens’ right to have freedom of elections is being taken from them,” he said.
Kürkçü also said they would apply to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure the security of the upcoming local elections, scheduled for March 30.
Speaking at the same press conference, fellow HDP co-chair Sebahat Tuncel said it was clear that the attacks were being “managed from one center,” as the security forces had played a role in the incidents.
Tuncel also criticized other political parties for not releasing any statements of condemnation over the incident, saying that keeping silent meant approving of the attacks.
Main opposition CHP lends support to HDP
However, on March 10 the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) warned that attacks against the HDP in the run-up to local elections did not only target the HDP, but also aimed to disrupt the holding of elections in a peaceful environment.
CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu drew attention to the fact that law enforcement officers working under the Interior Ministry had not taken the required precautions.
Recalling earlier attacks against the HDP that took place in the Aegean town of Urla in İzmir and the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, Tanrıkulu called the attacks “intolerable,” in a written statement released March 10.
The law enforcement officers did not see any harm in using water cannon and tear gas to disperse citizens visiting the hospital where Berkin Elvan is being treated, he added. He was referring to the March 10 incidents in which visitors gathering to support Gezi Park victim Berkin Elvan, who turned 15 in January while still in a coma, were violently dispersed by the Istanbul police.
Tanrıkulu also claimed that the law enforcement officers had committed a crime because they had failed to supply security during electioneering. “On this occasion, I call on the interior minister, who administers enforcement officers, to fulfill his duty and prevent attacks,” he said.
Tanrıkulu also asked for the launching of investigations into incidents everywhere attacks take place, including Fethiye, Urla and Aksaray.