Turkish court orders removal of controversial ‘bloody’ billboards in Van

Turkish Penal Court of Peace ordered removal of billboards in southeastern province of Van which had provoking images that were received as ‘threats’ by residents.

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A Turkish Penal Court of Peace ruled to remove ‘bloody’ billboards that were put up in the city of Van by pro-Kurdish municipality and had caused an outcry among residents which received the billboards as a threat ahead of June 7 polls.

A billboard image showing blood flowing out from a tap 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. 

The billboards had caused major distress among the residents that interpreted the images as a threat aimed at influencing their votes in favor of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), that is currently in charge of the administration of Van. 

As the elections near, outlawed PKK escalated attacks in the southeast of the country in attempts to pressure the residents of the region despite the presence 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.

In response to complaints of the residents which questioned what the blood signified, the municipality had responded it had nothing to do with the billboards but they were hung up by a unit of the municipality to raise awareness on drought. 

After the billboards were removed, the municipality placed them with new ones that had images of a tap with actual water flowing from it. 

TRTWorld and agencies