Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members set up a tent as part of election campaign in the central Güvenpark area in Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday. HDP members were threatened by the police saying “Do not stay crowded, otherwise you will get detained”.
While the İyi (Good) Party, Saadet (Felicity) Party and Republican People’s Party (CHP) members were also running a campaign at Güvenpark, police attacked the HDP members who were handing out leaflets. During the crackdown, two female HDP members were battered by the police.
As the crackdown continued, police told the HDP members to “turn off the election music and do not hand out leaflets with more than 5 persons”, to which HDP members opposed as tension continued.
HDP members were then blockaded by police forces who also battered and punched HDP Ankara MP candidate Emine Kaya. Police furthermore attempted to detain Cumhuriyet daily reporter Ali Haydar Çelebi who recorded the attack on Kaya on his camera. While the people around prevented the detention, police deleted the video he recorded.
Speaking about the incident, MP candidate Emine Kaya said the following; “Police came near us and said ‘you are forcibly handing out leaflets to the people’. I told them that we are running our election campaign. One of the police officers pushed me when I told him that it was them who prevented the people in the area. He then punched me on the throat. Police forces do not tolerate our work but we will continue working despite all the obstacles. We will take no steps backward.”
CHP members at the nearby stand also protested the police intervention, saying; “What do you want from them? If it is banned to open a stand, then all the parties here should remove their stands.” Police teams retreated from the area afterwards.
After the tension ended, CHP MP candidates and HDP lawyers went to the scene and HDP members continue handing out leaflets at the moment.