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(en) France, UCL press release, Türkiye: massive fraud to stifle Kurdish dissent (ca, de, fr, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 14 Apr 2024 11:12:00 +0300

From the municipal elections of March 31, 2024, we will remember the rout of the AKP, the Islamo-conservative party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the Kurdish regions under military occupation, massive fraud did not prevent the victory of the Dem Party, the main party of the Kurdish left. The Turkish state is now attacking the results of the election, and the population is taking to the streets. ---- At the national level, it is the CHP, the historic Kemalist party (center-left nationalist) which chased the AKP from many town halls. But in Bakur (Turkish Kurdistan), it is the People's Equality and Democracy Party (Dem Parti) which wins by winning ten provinces (compared to eight in 2019) and 82 cities, or 16 more than in 2019. This victory should have been even greater, three provinces (Bitlis, Kars and Sirnak) having been lost due to electoral fraud orchestrated by the AKP government: thousands of soldiers were brought in convoys to vote (often several times) in the towns of Kurdistan acquired by the Dem Party. There, the pressure from the regime is the norm: armed police officers and soldiers near the voting booths, armored vehicles in the grounds of the schools where people vote, pressure to vote for AKP in exchange for a little money, or under the threat of losing one's job, etc.

All these soldiers are stationed in border communities due to the war in Iraqi Kurdistan, but their distribution is organized by the Turkish state to maintain constant pressure on all the Kurdish provinces.

In small and medium-sized towns, fraud is visible and uninhibited. When the European press congratulates itself on elections that "went well", it repeats the language of Erdogan's propaganda, making the situation in Kurdistan invisible. Council of Europe observers are almost absent; their delegation only went to Diyarbakir (Amed), where it was unable to observe the massive fraud that affected the rest of the country.

Victorious standoff around the symbolic city of Van
But cheating and intimidation did not prevent the opposition from winning. In Van, the AKP government tried to invalidate the election of Abdullah Zeydan as mayor, before giving up in the face of intense popular mobilization around this symbolic city of Kurdistan. The town hall will therefore remain with the Dem Party. The struggle paid off!

Protests broke out everywhere against the AKP's fraud and coup practices
Similar coup maneuvers were deployed in 2016 and 2019 to prevent the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), predecessor of the Dem Party, from seizing town halls. To this day, the HDP co-mayors and municipal elected officials are still imprisoned. The State has therefore already, for eight years, confiscated democratically elected power.

The population is in the streets in many towns of Bakur to protest against this usurpation and thus obtained Erdogan's retreat. Many people were injured and arrested by the police.

The Turkish state's war against the Kurds, inside and outside its borders
In his speech on election night, Erdogan repeated his desire to "secure the border with Iraq before the summer" and to create a 30-kilometer "security corridor" in the territory of Rojava, along the border Syrian. He thus reaffirms his desire to intensify his war against the Kurds across borders.

Mobilization - locally as well as internationally - determines the balance of power that can be opposed to the AKP. The challenge is to stop the dismissal of the largely elected Dem Party mayors this Sunday!

Let's remain vigilant and mobilized, let's keep our eyes focused on what's happening in Kurdistan!

Long live the resistance of the Kurdish people! Bijî berxwedana Kurdistan!

Libertarian Communist Union, April 3, 2024

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