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HDP slams gov't for appointment of additional police to eastern regions.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has lashed out at the government over a recent circular that appoints 20,000 additional police officers to 18 eastern and southeastern provinces for the upcoming June 7 general elections, saying that the government wants to put pressure on Kurds ahead of the polls.

The circular was issued by the National Police Department and sent to the police departments of predominantly Kurdish areas including 18 eastern and southeastern provinces or districts such as Diyarbakyr, Hakkari, Cizre, BingE[micro]l, MuE-, Siirt, Mardin, Tunceli, Van, Batman, E[currency]anlyurfa and E[currency]yrnak provinces. Accordingly, 20,000 additional police officers will be sent to these provinces or districts to serve for three months before the elections as part of "special duty." A total of 1,500 police officers will be sent to Diyarbakyr, 500 police officers to Cizre (a Kurdish town which has already come to public attention with successive tensions recently) and 600 to Hakkari. The provinces where these additional police officers will be sent are the regions where the HDP is active. According to the circular, the expenses for these additional police officers will be covered by the governor's offices of these provinces until the general elections.

Commenting on the recent circular, HDP Hakkari deputy Adil Zozani said that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) aims to put pressure on Kurdish voters and the HDP directly with this "electoral police circular" by pointing to public order and internal security as its reason. Bringing the controversial circular to parliament's agenda, Zozani directed a parliamentary question to Interior Minister Sebahattin EuztE-rk asking whether the ruling AK Party is trying to manipulate the elections via the force of police by sending 20,000 additional police officers three months ahead of the general elections. Zozani said the fact that these additional police officers are being sent to the regions where the HDP receives a high number of votes is an attempt to put the HDP's voter base under pressure.

Zozani said that as the elections approach the ruling party has been accelerating efforts to preserve its power and change the fate of the elections in favor of itself, adding that the government tries to increase its votes via manipulation.

HDP Co-chair Figen YE-ksekday- also reacted harshly to the circular, saying that the government's move to send 20,000 additional police officers to the Kurdish regions is intended to escalate tension in these regions during an electoral period.

Noting that the police have been equipped with extraordinary powers such as "the authority to shoot at citizens if it is seen as necessary" and detaining a person for 48 hours without a prosecutor's prior order via a controversial internal security bill, YE-ksekday- said that the government is playing "a dangerous game."

The bill's most controversial 67 articles were passed in Parliament last week. As a whole it has been heavily criticized for dealing blows to democracy and fundamental freedoms such as the right to life, to protest and to privacy. The bill, which Parliament began discussing at the beginning of last month, gives police officers the authority to detain anyone on the street who is considered to be a public disturbance or a threat to security or private property.

YE-ksekday- also warned that the government will be held directly responsible for any kind of provocations that may take place in these regions during such a critical electoral period.

HDP Deputy Chairwoman Meral DanyE- BeE-taE-, who is also a lawyer, said that the government plans to put a mechanism in place to apply pressure of the HDP's vote base before the elections.

Habib GE-ler/ ysmail Avcy/ E[currency]eyhmus Edis, Diyarbakyr / Ankara (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Mar 19, 2015
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