Mar 15 2019

Turkey puts more pressure on pro-Kurdish party’s election campaign

Turkish authorities continue to put restrictions on the election campaign of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as local elections on March 31 approaches.

A Turkish court in the southeastern city of Siirt ruled on Thursday to confiscate the party's brochure on the grounds that the material included "propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation", pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency said.

The court also banned printing, selling and distribution of the brochure which reported debt and corruption allegations related to municipalities in dominantly-Kurdish provinces in southeast Turkey, where the Turkish government replaced more than 80 of the 103 elected HDP mayors with government-appointed administrators.

In the south-eastern province of Şanlıurfa, Turkish police ripped the HDP's election posters on the streets using pressured-water of the water cannons, Turkish news site Artı Gerçek reported on Friday. Previously, a Turkish court in the same province ordered the removal of some HDP election posters reading "Peace against war" in Kurdish. 

The Turkish broadcasters have also avoiding to televise the HDP's election commercials, despite and agreement between the television channels and the party.

"It is seen clearly that there is a big pressure by the ruling party on TV channels," Saruhan Oluç, the party’s spokesman, told Mezopotamya Agency, while election commercial has been shared on Twitter by the official accounts of the HDP.

The election commercials of other political parties have been broadcast since the beginning of March.

Last week, Turkish police detained more than two dozen HDP politicians and party members across the country.  The pro-Kurdish party, which is accused by Ankara of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), runs an election campaign while thousands of its members, including former party heads, lawmakers, mayors, and other senior officials, are behind bars.