HDP election stall attacked in northwest Turkey

A stall set up by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has been attacked by a large group as it campaigned for the Jun. 24 presidential and parliamentary elections in the northwest Turkish province of Kocaeli, left-wing daily BirGün reported on Thursday.

Police stood by as a group of around 50 attacked the party’s stall, calling them “terrorists” and “traitors” as they did so, according to the news report.

Two were injured in the attack, including the HDP’s regional co-chair, Şahabettin Işık, whose hip was broken and will require surgery.

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was caught on film instructing local politicians from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “target” HDP voters. The president said the AKP’s chances would greatly improve if the HDP’s votes fall below the 10 percent electoral threshold in the upcoming election, in which case any parliamentary seats the win will be forfeit to larger parties.

The election campaign has been marred by a number of instances of violence, including a shootout between an AKP deputy’s cohort and a local shop owner which resulted in at four deaths on the same day as the attack on the HDP stand.