Şırnak, Sep 22 () - Citizens living in three neighborhoods of a restive town in Turkey’s southeast will only be able to vote in other neighborhoods for the Nov. 1 election following a decision by local authorities.
Dozens were killed during an eight-day siege between Sept. 4 and 12 in Cizre district of Şırnak province, as security forces clashed with alleged militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The District Election Council decided on Sept. 18 to not establish any ballot box in Cizre’s Cudi, Nur and Sur neighborhoods. The decision cited security concerns and the risk of bomb attacks during the vote.
Besides “flaws in past elections,” the decision also noted that “ditches and barricades” established by locals in response to alleged police aggression in the area were still in place in the three neighborhoods.
The decision stipulates that more than 48,000 voters who live in the Cudi, Nur and Sur neighborhoods will be asked to vote in other neighborhoods.
According to Turkish officials, around 40 PKK militants were killed and 25 police officers were injured in clashes during the curfew. Relatives of casualties, on the other hand, had said more than 20 civilians were also killed while the PKK said the fight was conducted by locals and not its militants.
Request for "transported vote" and claims of fraud
Meanwhile, the Bitlis Governor’s Office in Turkey’s east announced on Sep 21 that it had applied to electoral officials to adopt a “transported vote” method, citing security concerns. If approved, citizens in Bitlis’ countryside will have to travel to town centers in order to vote on Nov. 1.
Mainly due to landslide victories in southeastern provinces, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, managed to cross the election threshold in the June 7 election, depriving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its majority in parliament. As a result, the AKP’s single-party government collapsed but the country was forced to go to another election when no coalition government was formed.
Turkey’s opposition parties voice concern about electoral irregularities and claims of fraud.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu presented a motion to the parliament on Sep 21, asking about claims that 650,000 voters who had voted on June 7 had been removed from voter registries for the Nov. 1 election.
According to the motion, in Istanbul alone there are claims that 145,000 voters have been rendered ineligible to vote.