Two killed at polling station in Turkey’s Malatya
A polling station official and an election observer were shot dead in the eastern province of Malatya’s Pütürge on March 31 during the local elections.
State-run Anadolu Agency has reported that the deaths followed a brawl between supporters of competing candidates in an election for neighborhood administrators.
Felicity (Saadet) Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu said on Twitter that the two people killed were members of the party.
“As a result of an attack by the nephew of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] candidate in Pütürge, Malatya, one ballot box observer and one polling clerk of our party have lost their lives. This incident is not a simple dispute; there was an attempt to make people cast open votes and our observers objecting to this situation have been massacred,” Karamollaoğlu said.
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Security forces have taken security measures around the school where the polling station is and in the neighborhood.
Speaking to reporters at the polling station where he cast his vote in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed sadness over the incident in Malatya.
Erdoğan said it would not be “correct to make this a questioning or a judgment between political parties.”
The Turkish president called the elections a “keystone of democracy” and said if his party does well, it would add “great power” to his administration.
AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik also made a statement regarding the incident on March 31, saying: “Our police forces and prosecutors will conduct a joint work for those who are responsible for this incident to be revealed. Whoever is responsible will be definitely punished.”
Malatya Governor Aydın Baruş has announced that four people believed to be linked to the shooting were detained.
Separately, in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, 25 people were injured due to brawls that occurred between neighborhood head candidates and their relatives.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that 310 election-related incidents had occurred in the nation as of 3 p.m. March 31.