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Turkey News Alert

Turkey: Isolated incidents of political violence prior to June 24 elections /update 1

Ultra-nationalists attack opposition campaign booths in Istanbul leading up to June 24 elections; further incidents of political violence possible

23 May 09:47 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 5/23/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/24/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Istanbul). COUNTRY/REGION Turkey, Istanbul
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Event

There have been several isolated incidents of political violence in Turkey in recent weeks leading up to the snap elections on June 24. In Istanbul, a campaign booth set up by the İYİ (Good) Party was attacked on May 6 in the Bağcılar district. At least eight people were wounded by members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who reportedly stabbed four of the victims. Another İYİ Party booth was targeted on May 20 by suspected MHP supporters in Üsküdar Square. At least five people were wounded in the attack. In a separate incident on May 20, ultra-nationalists also assaulted members of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the Bakirkoy district. Additional incidents of electoral-related violence are possible across Turkey in the weeks leading up to the vote. 

Context

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on April 18 that presidential and legislative elections originally scheduled for November 2019 will be held on June 24. According to Erdogan, the election needed to be moved up in order to implement the new system of government intended to strengthen the country.

The security situation remains tense in Turkey, particularly after several protests were held across the country on April 16 against the now-passed extension of the current state of emergency. The Turkish parliament's April 18 extension of the state of emergency was the seventh such extension since its initial implementation following the failed coup d'état of July 15, 2016. Since then, nearly 116,000 people have been fired or forced to resign from their jobs and over 228,000 people have been arrested. Critics have repeatedly denounced the increasing restrictions on political freedom and human rights violations, which they claim are ongoing under the guise of national security.

Advice

Individuals in Turkey are advised to monitor the situation and avoid possible demonstrations as a precaution. Due to the risk of terrorism throughout the country, individuals present in Turkey are advised to maintain a high degree of vigilance, to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities, and to be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels, and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.).

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