A parliamentary candidate for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been recorded issuing a threat to people who do not vote for his party in upcoming elections on June 24.
“We are watching carefully. We know very well who is on our side and who is not. We will show our faith in those who are by our side. But on the morning of June 25, those who are not with us will pay a price,” said Ahmet Tutulmaz, a parliamentary candidate in Turkey’s eastern Iğdır province, in a video recorded at a campaign event and widely reported in the Turkish media on Saturday.
Tutulmaz’s comments are the latest in a series of instances in which members of the ruling party and their allies have used language that has been interpreted as threatening towards the opposition in the run-up to elections.
Last week, video footage leaked from a private meeting showed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussing tactics with party activists to prevent the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from surpassing the 10 percent election threshold required to enter parliament. Among other things he said, “You know who is who … If our neighbourhood representatives do not know who is who, then they should resign. You will take the voter lists for each ballot box and conduct special work.”
Meanwhile, Meral Akşener, leader of the Turkish opposition İYİ Party, has been prevented by the local municipality’s election board from appearing in a televised election event due to be held Sunday in the Sultanahmet district of İstanbul.
The decision was made public in a tweet posted on the İYİ Party’s official twitter account on Saturday. It comes despite the fact that the İYİ Party leader earlier obtained permission to appear at the event from both the Istanbul governor and the provincial election board.
A statement released by the İYİ Party criticized the decision and said they would appeal it.
The İYİ Party, which has formed an electoral alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Felicity Party (SP) that aims to wrest control of the government from the ruling AKP, has long complained that its campaign has been subject to harassment by government officials and supporters of the ruling party and their allies. (SCF with Ahval)