SP Senator Kox: Attacks threaten Turkish elections

6 June 2015

SP Senator Kox: Attacks threaten Turkish elections

The Turkish Parliamentary elections held today have been overshadowed by the large number of violent attacks that have occurred in the country. On Friday four people were killed and over a hundred wounded in a bloody bomb attack on a mass meeting of the left Kurdish party HDP. HDP has been the main target of attacks, but is by no means the only group which has had to cope with a wave of violence over the last few weeks. SP Senator Tiny Kox, who heads an international team of election observers sent to Turkey by the Council of Europe, told Turkish media that the upsurge of violence represents a threat to free and fair elections. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made a similar declaration, while HDP Chair Selahattin Demirtaş called on supporters to keep calm. Who is behind the violence remains unclear, while parties continue to accuse each other.

Foto: SP
Tiny Kox in conversation with Professor Mustafa Sentop, Vice-Chair of the AK Party

Today’s elections are seen by many as crucial, with the governing AK party attempting to win an overall majority in order to change the electoral system and hand even more power to President Erdogan. Other parties are completely opposed to this. The left Kurdish party HDP is hoping to exceed the 10% threshold below which a party receives no representation, a victory which would be of significance within Parliament but also in the Turkish-Kurdish peace process. The right-nationalist MHP also opposes the reforms sought by the AK party. Further wide differences exist when it comes to foreign policy. Sixteen other parties plus a number of independent candidates have also thrown their hats into the ring for a seat in the Turkish Great Chamber of 550 members.

In some 174,000 polling booths, more than fifty-five million voters will today exercise their right to vote. A million Turks living abroad, including many in the Netherlands, have already voted. Polling booths open at 8 o’clock in the morning and close at five in the afternoon. In addition to 135 international observers, tens of thousands of domestic observers will be out and about throughout the day. On Monday morning Senator Kox and his counterpart at the head of the team from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will present their preliminary conclusions at a press conference in Ankara. The final report will be delivered by Kox to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 22nd June.

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