Sunday, March 30, 2014

Turkey: Clashes erupt during municipal elections, eight dead

Photo: EPA
Voice of Russia | Mar 30, 2014

Eight people were killed and 18 others injured on Sunday in clashes between groups backing rival candidates in Turkey's municipal elections, which turned into a referendum on the rule of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Two people died and nine others were wounded when they were fighting for the election of neighborhood unit in Golbasi village of Kirikhan town of southern Hatay province, according to the report.

Six Turkish citizens were killed and five others wounded in exchange of fire between candidates for neighborhood unit and their relatives in southern Hilvan town of southern Sanliurfa province, said the report.

Another fight erupted in Hamamoren village of Siverek town of Sanliurfa province between the members of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) due to casting vote, leaving four people wounded, said the report, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces reportedly increased measures in the village.


Polls opened Sunday in Turkey for municipal elections that are seen as a referendum on the rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has faced anti-government protests and a major corruption scandal.

More than 50 million voters were to cast their ballots for mayors and local assemblies at almost 200,000 pollings stations, pitting Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development party against secular, nationalist and other groups.

The polls opened first in eastern Turkey and will open later in the west.

Turkey's Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embattled by protests and corruption scandals, faced a crucial popularity test Sunday when over 50 million eligible voters cast their ballots in local elections.

Hailed as the "sultan" by his loyal followers and labelled a "dictator" by his bitter foes, Erdogan has campaigned for weeks alongside mayoral candidates, turning the vote into a referendum on his 11-year-rule.

The outcome - especially in the megacity Istanbul and capital Ankara - will impact his future as he eyes a run for the presidency in August, or changes party rules to seek a fourth term as prime minister next year.
 
Voice of Russia, Xinhua

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