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Jan 20 2019

Turkey's AKP deputy threatens with chaos ahead of local elections if his party loses

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Van deputy Abdulahat Arvas said if AKP loses the municipality of the southeastern city of Van, paramilitary forces will take the streets, ahead of March 31 local elections, Turkish news site Diken reported on Sunday. 

"If AKP does not win the elections in Van, traders will lose, women with headscarves will not be able to walk on the streets, the shopkeepers will not have peace, armed gangs will take the streets again," Diken quoted Arvas as saying.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used a similar expression ahead of 2015 parliamentary elections, causing wide criticism in the country, according to Cumhuriyet newspaper. "The ultimate system for Turkey is the presidential system. Give us 400 deputies and this business will be solved in peace," Erdoğan said.

The AKP publicly targeted 330 seats in order to be able to submit constitutional changes to a referendum. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made several statements in the lead-up to the election that set the AKP's electoral targets higher at 400 MPs. In 2015, the AKP could not reach the desired amount of deputies, but later in 2018, the office of the Prime Minister was abolished and the existing parliamentary system of government was replaced with an executive presidency and a presidential system after 2017 constitutional referendum.

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.