Four people who allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a rally for Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce on Thursday in İzmir have been detained by police, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
The detentions came after an investigation was launched over a video shared on social media showing a group of people having dinner that included alcohol outside a restaurant and chanting anti-Erdoğan slogans.
In the video, which was taken from the balcony of a nearby house, the group says: “You have gotten power four times, and you have f*cked the country. Get the f*ck out, Recep Tayyip!”
According to the report, police located the restaurant in the Alsancak district of İzmir and identified the people by examining the camera footage after the Izmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the group for insulting the president.
Four of the group have been detained, while a search is underway for the others.
Meanwhile, Turkish police on Saturday detained seven pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) officials, including polling station representatives, in Ankara as part of an investigation into an alleged plan to stage provocative actions during Sunday’s vote, the Cumhuriyet daily reported. According to the report, the prosecutor issued 25 detention warrants for party members.
Also, Kurdish singer Hozan Cane was detained on her way back from an HDP election campaign in Edirne’s Enez district. The 47-year-old singer, who has also German citizenship, was stopped by police near downtown Edirne on Saturday. Media reported that she was detained on accusations of spreading terrorist propaganda in her social media postings.
A video leaked on social media on June 13 showed that President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged his party’s local officials to ensure that the HDP remains under the election threshold so that the AKP can achieve a bigger success in the general election.
In his speech, Erdoğan says: “Friends, our party organization should work differently when it comes to the HDP. I won’t talk about this outside. I am speaking to you here — why? Because [the HDP] remaining under the threshold means our situation [in the elections] will be better.”
Turkey has a 10 percent election threshold, which is considered to be too high by the opposition parties. If a party fails to get 10 percent of the national vote in the general election, they lose the opportunity to be represented in Parliament.
The HDP managed to surpass the election threshold in the June 7, 2015 general election as well as the snap polls held in the November of the same year. If the HDP cannot make it to Parliament in these elections, the AKP, which hopes to emerge as the first party in the elections, will have more seats in the parliament.
Erdoğan also told the AKP neighborhood officials that they needed to work on an individual level in their neighborhoods and to maintain a tight grip over the voters in each area.
“You will get the electoral lists and see who is who. If you do this, I believe it will bring about a very different outcome for us. We are saying maintain a tight grip on them; you will do this,” says Erdoğan, without further elaborating.
After the release of the video, the HDP issued a statement from its Twitter account on Wednesday evening in which it accused Erdoğan of inciting people to commit a crime.
“[Erdoğan] is planning to steal our votes through deception and pressure in order to cause the HDP to remain under the threshold because he knows that if the HDP cannot make it to Parliament, he will win more than 400 seats. Just to prevent this from happening, give one vote to the HDP, one vote to [Selahattin] Demirtaş on June 24,” the party’s statement said.
Demirtaş, the HDP’s presidential candidate, has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016. Erdoğan frequently attacked Demirtaş at his election rallies. (SCF with turkishminute.com)