Threats against Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party ahead of local elections

Threats against Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party ahead of local elections – Ahval

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ayşe Acar Başaran said the party officials have been getting anonymous threat messages ahead of the local elections, Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya reported on Sunday.

On Jan. 3, HDP deputies, mayors, senior officials and party members received threat emails by an anonymous sender self-claimed ‘Revenge Team’. The messages contain statements such as “we own this country”, “this is the last warning. If you won’t take it into consideration, we are not responsible for what is coming next”, “we will call you to account for the past. We will bury you into trenches you dug”, “the circle tightens”.

Acar Başaran said the emails also included profanity and insulting, and if anything happens to HDP members, the government would be responsible.

“Ahead of every election, there were smear campaigns against our party members and officials. We are taking these threats seriously because this society is severely polarised,” Acar Başaran said. “But, we are not afraid of these threats. We will continue and take legal actions against them,” she added.

On March 31st, Turkey will head to the ballot box to vote in local elections, choosing mayors and neighbourhood leaders throughout the 81 provinces of the country.

However, HDP will meet the elections while its thousands of members are imprisoned. In 2015, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party dismissed 95 mayors elected from the HDP over their alleged links to terrorism. The government appointed administrators to take their place, sending most of the elected mayors to prison.

Turkey has charged many top HDP politicians with membership in a terrorist organisation, based on alleged links to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. HDP politicians behind bars include Selahattin Demirtaş, a former HDP co-chair who ran as the party’s presidential candidate from his jail cell last year.

“HDP is a party which was supported by millions of voters. Threats against Turkey’s second-biggest opposition party should have a consequence. We will begin legal proceedings, but the government’s reactions at this point are very important. Will they investigate these threats or will they continue to blow nationalism?” Acar Başaran asked.

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