The co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, has called on other political parties to coordinate efforts to secure the Nov. 1 elections in constituencies in eastern and southeastern Anatolia, rather than leave the matter to the security forces.
“There is no need to be so scared and to panic” Demirtaş replied late Sept. 30 when he was asked about his advice to the grassroots of the HDP on the prospect of moving polling stations in the upcoming Nov. 1 election.
“I mean the YSK [the Supreme Election Board] may take such decision in some places due to political impositions. It will hold a meeting on Saturday [Oct. 3]” Demirtaş said as he responded to questions conveyed through Facebook.
The YSK will make a final decision on earlier decisions taken by a number of local election councils in eastern and southeastern Anatolia to not conduct voting in certain neighborhoods due to security concerns, amid deadly violence between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“The YSK has to review those decisions [by district election councils]. However, there is no need for a great fear and panic if [the YSK] ultimately violates the constitution and decides to openly move the ballot boxes. We will make preparations to organize voters and transport them to ballot boxes nearby,” Demirtaş said in a bid to ease growing concerns.
The HDP’s co-leader echoed an earlier call by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to join efforts to provide election security.
“If the CHP, the AKP [the Justice and Development Party] and the MHP [the Nationalist Movement Party] have a concern over security at ballot boxes in Cizre, Nusaybin and Yüksekova, let’s task members of the MYK [Central Executive Board of the political parties], not just polling observers” Demirtaş said.
“Politicians and ballot box committees should provide this security before security forces; we are ready for this. We are ready to work in coordination with other parties for the security of each ballot box” he added.
The District Election Council in Cizre in Şırnak province decided on Sept. 18 to not establish any ballot box in the district’s Cudi, Nur and Sur neighborhoods, as well as many villages. The decision cited security concerns and the risk of bomb attacks during the vote as the reason to prevent voting in these areas.
Similar decisions were made afterwards by local councils in Diyarbakır, the central districts of Bitlis and Hakkari, the Yüksekova district of Hakkari, the Silopi district of Şırnak and Batman.
Earlier this week, the CHP reiterated its willingness to provide election security as part of a joint parliamentary delegation in three neighborhoods of Cizre.