Two Killed In Fight At Ballot Box In East Turkey – Official

An election official shows a ballot during the counting at a polling station located in a school of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey on March 31, 2019. 
Ilyas AKENGIN / AFP

 

An election observer and another man were killed in a fight at a school-based polling station in eastern Turkey Sunday as voting got underway in Turkey’s local elections, the local governor’s office said.

“Two of our citizens lost their lives as a result of a dispute at the ballot box around 10.00 am (0700 GMT)” in the Puturge district of Malatya, it said on its website.

Security forces arrested four suspects in connection with the deaths, the governor’s office added.

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The violence took place as Turks voted in a grassroots support test for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Experts say the AKP could lose Ankara, and even Istanbul, in the municipal poll.

After voting in Istanbul, Erdogan said the incident had “upset” him and that an official investigation had been launched.

“My wish is that no other incident like this happens again,” he said.

The private DHA news agency reported the two men were shot after an argument between two rival political groups turned violent.

The bodies were taken to a mortuary and police boosted security around the school where voting was taking place, the news agency said.

The men were members of Saadet (Felicity), a religiously conservative party. One of them was an election observer.

Saadet chairman Temel Karamollaoglu said on Twitter they had been “attacked” by an AKP candidate’s nephew at the polling station.

Erdogan called Karamollaoglu to offer condolences, his office said, and vowed the culprits would face justice.

Elsewhere, Istanbul police detained seven people after a fight between candidates for muhtar (a village chief) in the Esenyurt district.

In a third incident, in Istanbul, a man was stabbed in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side of the city during a disturbance among local candidates, police said.

AFP

 

Turkey Election: Ruling AKP Regains Victory

turkey electionTurkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won a critical parliamentary election on Sunday, regaining the majority it lost in June.

With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 per cent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that voters had “shown that they prefer action and development to controversy”. The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 1o per cent  threshold needed to claim seats.

Erdogan said that the outcome was a vote for stability and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy.

Prime Minister and AKP leader, Ahmet Davutoglu,  said on Twitter: “Today is a victory for our democracy and our people. Hopefully, we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019.”

The nationalist MHP would also take seats in Ankara.

In a statement, President Erdogan said that the electorate had “given proof of their strong desire for the unity and integrity” of Turkey.

At AKP headquarters in Ankara, under a sky lit by fireworks, he later urged Turkey’s political parties to work together on a new constitution, which Erdogan has said he would like to see include executive powers for the presidency.

A senior official from the main CHP opposition, which had calculated on ‘reining in’ Erdogan’s influence with a coalition government, described the result as “simply a disaster”.

The outcome could aggravate deep splits in Turkey between pious conservatives, who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class, and Western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism and Islamist ideals.

In June, the AKP lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002.

In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after support for the pro-Kurdish opposition fell perilously close to the 10 per cent threshold needed to enter parliament.