Dozens of people have been injured in eastern Turkey, after police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse nationalists protesting against an election rally by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Around 1,000 Turkish nationalists stormed the rally in the main square of Erzurum, an area seen as a bastion for Turkish nationalists.
Thursday’s clashes in the north-east city of Erzurum occurred when about 2,000 HDP supporters gathered to hear Selahattin Demirtas, the party leader, speak at the rally and were the latest in a string of incidents in the run-up to Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
Demirtas’ appearance had been seen as a bold statement in a region where his party is far from popular, and in which the HDP is hoping to clear a 10 percent threshold for entering parliament as a party under proportional representation.
Should the HDP pass the 10 percent threshold, it would become more difficult for President Erdogan to reach his goal of changing the constitution to boost presidential powers.
The HDP has long been accused by Turkish nationalists of being linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long armed insurgency in the south-east, fighting for Kurdish autonomy.
- Pray for Turkey in the lead up to the parliamentary elections on 7th June. Pray for peace in the streets, and for free and fair elections across the country.
- Pray for peace post-election, especially with the rise of popularity of the HDP party.
- Pray for wisdom and grace as people vote, and as politicians look to the way forward for this strategic nation.
1 Timothy 2 vs 1 – 2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”