Strong rhetoric, violence against parties sparks concerns over election safety

With less than two weeks remaining until the June 7 parliamentary election, harsh and polarizing rhetoric by some leading politicians and an increasing number of violent attacks targeting deputy candidates and the offices of certain political parties has sparked serious safety concerns regarding the election.
In the latest incident, a female deputy candidate of the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) was injured after she was assaulted by unidentified armed people in the southern province of Adana on Tuesday morning. The candidate, Elif Dogan Tandurkmen, was shot three times in a restaurant where she had gone on Tuesday morning to attend a breakfast meeting held by the andcukurova Young Businessmenand’s Association (andcUGiAD). Tandurkmen was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The police immediately launched an investigation to find those involved in the attack, and a car used during the attack was found abandoned in andcukurovaand’s Ganduzelyali neighborhood. Police are continuing to look for the perpetrators.
Tandurkmen, whose medical condition is not life-threatening, told reporters that the attack was aimed at intimidating her ahead of the elections. and”I am fine. The attack was intended to intimidate me. My medical condition is good. Please do not exaggerate the attack,and” Tandurkmen said, apparently in order to prevent the attack from further stoking tension. Adana Governor Mustafa Banduyanduk released a written statement on Tuesday in which he said that Tandurkmen had sustained an injury to her legs but has since recovered. The governor added that police are searching for the perpetrators.
Speaking about the attack, CHP leader Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu said he fears such provocations targeting political parties will continue until the election. and”I have already warned our partyand’s officials about possible provocations. Common sense should prevail and we should be prepared for the morning of June 8 [the day after the elections]. The ruling party has to find the perpetrators [of the attack] as soon as possible. We want to be the ruling party after the election. We have been exerting efforts to prevent such incidents from happening in the country in the future,and” Kiliandcdaroilu said.
CHP Adana provincial office head Burhanettin Bulut told reporters that the attack targeting Tandurkmen was carried out against the whole party. He added that the fact that this attack took place against a background of the CHP increasing its popularity ahead of the elections is very telling.
Criticizing the increasing number of violent incidents targeting political parties, Adana Bar Association President Menganducek Gazi andcitirik said he has observed that tension has been increasing as the country is approaching the elections. He added that such attacks against the partiesand’ deputy candidates, electoral vehicles and offices are incompatible with democracy and that the Adana Bar Association vehemently condemns them.
An election campaign bus belonging to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was attacked by unidentified assailants in the southeastern province of Adiyaman on Monday afternoon. The assailants shot at the bus three times. No one was injured in the attack. Police are investigating the incident and have detained two suspects.
In a similar incident, a deputy candidate of the AK Party in Adana was injured in a knife attack on Saturday. The candidate, Ramazan Demir, was stabbed three times by unidentified assailants but his injuries are not life-threatening. Two suspects have been detained over the incident. Again on Saturday, stones were thrown at an election office of the AK Party in Istanbuland’s Kanduandcandukandcekmece district, while several gunmen opened fire on a campaign bus of the party in the eastern province of Batman. No one was injured in those incidents.
An office of the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) in GandOlbaii, Adiyaman province, was also attacked by unknown men on Saturday, who collected the flags hung around the building and then set them on fire. In a written statement, HDP GandOlbaii branch President ibrahim Eryilmaz said the HDP has been making all possible efforts to ensure that the upcoming election will be held in a democratic and peaceful atmosphere. Condemning the attacks on HDP offices across the country, Eryilmaz said the party will not give in to provocations ahead of the elections.
h2Tanrikulu: Some politicians fueling tension ahead of electionh2
In addition to attacks against offices and candidates, some leading politicians are targeting their rival parties with strident accusations. In one of his election rallies, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu accused the leading opposition parties of being and”illegaland” bodies that cooperate with terrorist organizations. Criticizing all three opposition parties represented in Parliament, Davutoilu said on Sunday that they are only and”disguised as legal.and”
Furthermore, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has been holding election rallies in support of the ruling party in violation of his constitutional requirement to remain impartial — has frequently targeted opposition parties and media outlets that do not support the AK Party. Article 103 of the Constitution, which regulates the presidentand’s oath-taking, clearly states that the president must assure the public that he will remain impartial during the course of his duties.
Speaking with Todayand’s Zaman, CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu said both Erdogan and Davutoilu have been targeting opposition parties with harsh discourse, thus paving the way for such attacks against political parties. Tanrikulu called on Erdogan and Davutoilu to stop fueling tension ahead of the June 7 poll.
In his Tuesday column for the T24 news portal, renowned journalist Hasan Cemal also criticized Erdogan for the harsh tone he adopts during his rallies. Cemal said Erdoganand’s words are very embarrassing in terms of democracy, freedom of expression and political ethics. and”I have been a journalist for 46 years. I have seen many political leaders during their election rallies. However, I do not remember a political leader who has run political ethics into the ground and adopted such an embarrassing rhetoric and style during rallies as much as Erdogan. Furthermore, he has violated the Constitution by speaking during those rallies,and” Cemal said.
Releasing a report last week concerning the frequent attacks against political parties, the Human Rights Association (iHD) revealed that 126 attacks had been carried out against political parties between March 23 and May 19.
The report, titled and”Attacks against political parties between March 23-May 19,and” shed light on the raids, attacks, threats and police raids targeting election offices. The report stated that 114 attacks — including three armed attacks, two bomb attacks and two arson attacks — targeted HDP election offices. In addition, the AK Party has been subjected to seven attacks, including two armed attacks, and the CHP has been the target of four attacks, with one of them an armed attack. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also suffered an armed attack during the period specified.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman