Tensions rise among voters as election approaches in Turkey

Fights break out between supporters of Turkey’s different political parties ahead of general elections

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tensions have risen in Turkey, as small groups of supporters of different political parties have engaged in fights ahead of upcoming June 7 general election.

In the northern province of Rize, a fight broke out between supporters of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on May 3.

A group of MHP supporters held a march on “Turkism Day,” which nationalists commemorate on May 3, leading to an an uproar when they passed a building run by the pro-Kurdish HDP.

Shouting slogans against jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the group tried to enter the HDP building.

MHP supporters and HDP members inside the building shouted each other for a while and there was a clash between police and the MHP supporters.

The police encircled the building and nobody was injured.

On May 2, another political fight occurred between the supporters of the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) in Istanbul.

Holding a placard written “Thief AK Party,” a group of CHP supporters held a protest in front of a group of AK Party supporters opening a booth for their election campaign.

The groups started to argue and CHP supporters threw stones at the AK Party group, according to Turkish media.

Four AK Party supporters were injured and 20 people were detained in the incident.

Turkish parliamentary speaker and governing AK Party deputy Cemil Cicek attributed the rising tension to the caucuses which political parties are holding every Tuesday.

“There is a serious tenseness among the public. One of the reasons for that tenseness is the caucuses. We need to hold these meetings in a peaceful atmosphere by using softer tone,” said Cicek in an interview with Hurriyet news on May 4.

Cicek said that supporters of political parties should not be allowed in caucuses held in parliament.

“In a very small place, 15-20 thousands of supporters participate the caucuses. This is a weekly nightmare for us. The supporters shouting slogans for their parties in the parliament. This is a disgrace,” said Cicek.

The four political parties participating in the parliament conduct meet every Tuesday inside the parliament.

Approximately 56 million people will vote on June 7 in the Turkey’s 25th general elections to elect 550 deputies to parliament.

General elections had been held in every five years in Turkey until a constitutional change in 2007, which set elections to be held every four years.

TRTWorld and agencies