'The AKP wants to get elections called off'
İZMİR (DİHA) - In the wake of 168 attacks on the increasingly popular Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), most recently a bombing in Diyarbakır, lawyers say the ruling AKP government is enabling attacks in the hope of getting elections called off.
If the HDP passes Turkey's 10% electoral threshold, it has the potential to unseat the AKP from single-party rule. In over 168 attacks on HDP activists, attackers have assaulted HDP activists with stones, Molotov cocktails, batons and bombs. Just in the last week, HamdullahÖğe, the driver of a HDP elections vehicle, was slain excecution-style while returning from elections work on Wednesday night. The following day, a fascist gang attempted to burn a HDP supporter alive in his vehicle. Yesterday, a bombing on a massive HDP rally in Diyarbakır killed at least 4, wounded 350.
'Legal impunity for attacks has emboldened attackers'
HDP officials have called on supporters to remain calm and determined in their elections work in the face of the attacks. Lawyer Eylem Yıldız, a member of the Free Lawyers Association (ÖHD) and a candidate for Parliament with the HDP in Izmir, says the current state of legal impunity for the attacks has emboldened attackers.
'Goal of AKP is for HDP voters to take to streets'
"We can see it in the videos: in their hands there are stones, batons and meat cleavers and the police aren't stopping them," she said. "In fact, they're right next to them. That is to say, they're providing protection. Then afterwards there's no arrest; the videos are very clear. If there is an arrest, they're not charged." Yıldız says that the goal of the AKP's attitude is for HDP voters to take to the streets in protest, where police can start clashes and scare away potential HDP voters.
Lawyer Ali Aydın, also of the Free Lawyers Association, noted that the HDP has been denied its basic legal right to freely advertise itself by environment of fear and the impunity for attackers. He says he and his colleagues have been calling attention to the risk of these kinds of events since the AKP first pushed its notorious "Internal Security Law" through the Parliament.
'State of emergency to derail the elections'
Free Lawyers Association member Nergis Tuba Aslan warned that the Internal Security Law, by authorizing wide-ranging police powers, has opened the possibility that the ruling AKP can call a state of emergency that would derail the elections.
"In this sense, the provisions for martial law known as the 'Internal Security' law can be called into action whenever the ruling political party sees it as necessary," she said. She said the state had created chaos and fear precisely for this purpose. "Because of the AKP's fear that it will not be able to form a single-party government, these types of provocations are ongoing and I'm concerned that they will continue."