‘Bloody’ billboard put by pro-Kurdish municipality in Turkey prompts debates

Billboard image posted by pro-Kurdish municipality in Turkey’s southeastern province of Van perceived as threatening message to voters ahead of June 7 elections

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A billboard image showing blood flowing out from a tap posted in Turkey's southeastern province of Van by the city’s pro-Kurdish municipality has caused an outcry as the images were received as a threat, aimed at influencing the voters ahead of June 7 elections.

The Van municipality is administered by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).  

Billboard images bearing messages such as “take measures”, “it will end one day”, “are you aware?”, “end is not too far if you don’t claim” and “let’s not be short of breath” written on them were posted around the busy areas of the city. 

Turkey’s governing  Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Van provincial chair Zahir Soganda said, “the purpose of this action is to spread fear, influence the will of the people and to claim the city,” urging public prosecutors to take action against those responsible. 

Soganda was referring to attempts by militant outlawed PKK which has escalated attacks in past months ahead of polls despite the existence of peace negotiations between the government and the imprisoned leader of PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. 

The Peace process or resolution process was initiated in 2012 to resolve the three-decade long conflict between the government and the PKK. 

The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organization by Turkey, NATO and the EU.

AK Party Van deputy candidate Burhan Kayaturk also claimed he has been receiving complaints over the billboard images, asking what the blood in the image signifies. 

“There is a tap and blood coming out of the tap with some writings that could be perceived as ‘warnings’. It does not carry much of a meaning for us but the people are getting upset with us for not removing those signs,” he said. 

Noting that he had called the municipality to find out the purpose of the billboard, Kayaturk said the municipality responded, “we have no information regarding the messages on them. The billboards were put up by a unit of the municipality to raise awareness on drought.” 

However, Kayaturk said even his children would not believe the presented “excuse,” arguing “the billboards were a clear message to pressure the voters”  to favor certain political parties and “impose fear on them.” 

Kayaturk also said he had been looking for an election office in the towns around Van and had rented 26 different offices with the agreement of the owners. However, he said he was later called by owners that the lease agreements were cancelled.

In other news, Turkish police found 150 kg of explosives in a propane cylinder on a highway in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir on May 1.

The explosives were detonated by security forces after the road was evacuated, police said.

TRTWorld and agencies