Turkish Elections

Lord Hylton

These are being held under a State of Emergency.  This gives the Government almost unlimited powers of arrest and control, at a time when it already dominates the media.  The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is the third largest party in the Parliament, but has been demonized as a collaborator of terrorists.  This accusation disregarded the party’s achievement in securing the Dolmabache Agreement in early 2015, to end a long civil war.  In the south-east, where HDP has massive support, village polling stations have been moved to towns, thus forcing voters to pass through numerous military check-points before voting.

The HDP presidential candidate is Mr Selahattin, a former Mayor of Diyarbakir city and a current member of parliament.  He has been held in prison for the last 20 months, with no court hearing during the first year.  Charges were then produced, based on his speeches, so the evidence is words rather than deeds.  His prison is in western Thrace, as far as possible from his home and family, while still remaining in Turkey.  The second largest party in the elections is the CHP, the traditional secular party stemming from Ataturk.

When the above facts are taken together with the 10% of total votes before a party can gain seats, one may well ask whether these elections can be free or fair.



June 2018)

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