Four killed, 310 incidents reported to police in local elections - interior ministry

A total of four people have been killed in the two days leading up to and the day of Sunday’s polls while 310 incidents have been filed with police, independent news site Diken reported on Sunday.

The interior ministry’s figures arrive as polls for March 31 local elections are closing throughout the country and the vote count begins.

“Despite all the precautions we have taken, a total of four our citizens have lost their lives in the scope of the 2019 local elections, with two citizens losing their lives prior to the polls and two citizens the day of the polls,” the ministry said.

Two people were shot dead at a polling station in Malatya in eastern Turkey on Sunday, local media reported.

The two were killed after an argument broke between rival groups, the website said. Their bodies have been transported to a local morgue and the security forces have detained the alleged perpetrator, Habertürk website said.

Turkey is holding nationwide local elections during an economic recession. The country is divided almost equally between support and opposition for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has ruled the country for a decade and a half and has become more autocratic.

The alleged killer, who wanted to vote openly rather than use a polling booth, was the nephew of a candidate for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), T24 news website reported. One of the people killed was an election observer for the rival Felicity Party (SP), while the other was a polling station official representing the same group, T24 said citing an official statement by Felicity.

The leader of Islamist opposition Saadet Party Temel Karamollağlu shared the deaths in the eastern province of Malatya, noting that to members of his party died on election day as a result of an attack by the nephew of the AKP mayoral candidate in the town of Pütürge.

“This is not a simple case of animosity,‘’ Karamollaoğlu wrote. “There was an attempt to vote at the ballot box in public and our volunteer observers who objected to this were murdered.‘’

Security personnel have increased their presence around the school where the murder occurred, according to the reports.

In a separate incident, a fight broke out in the mainly-Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakır between supporters of rival candidates, injuring two people, one of them seriously, the Demirören News Agency reported.