The Turkish Ministry of Interior confirmed that at least four people were killed in clashes on Sunday, March 31, as the country hosted municipal elections. Officials stated two members of the Saadet party were fatally stabbed in Pütürge (Malatya province), while dozens of others were wounded in fights at polling stations nationwide.
Local elections were held in 67 of 81 cities with initial results showing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) facing close losses in Ankara and Istanbul. Tensions remain high as AKP officials claim that voting in Ankara, Iğdır, and Istanbul was plagued by irregularities and that it will challenge the results in those areas.
A heightened security presence is to be expected at offices of the various political parties, public gathering places, and major transportation hubs in the wake of the election. Localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the event of any political demonstrations or rallies in the coming weeks. Further violence between supporters of competing political parties cannot be ruled out, particularly as its leaders have raised allegations of voting irregularities.
Candidates ran under two competing alliances, the People's Alliance - composed of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) - or the opposition Nation's Alliance - led by the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Good Party (İyi Party). AKP has reportedly lost key elections in several of Turkey's largest cities, including in Istanbul (which would be the first electoral loss for the party since 1994), Ankara, Adana, and Antalya.
Individuals in Turkey are advised to monitor local developments, refrain from discussing domestic political affairs in public (including on social media), avoid all gatherings related to the elections, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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