Declaring the election of a pro-Kurdish candidate invalid has sparked outrage

The third political party in parliament, DEM condemned the Election Commission’s “illegal” decision.


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Supporters of the pro-Kurdish DEM party demonstrate in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 2, 2024, against the party's annulment of the mayoral election of Van.  (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

In eastern Turkey, the annulment of a pro-Kurdish party mayoral election in Van, in favor of a ruling party candidate, sparked anger as far away as Istanbul on Tuesday 2 April. An elected representative of DEM, the main pro-Kurdish party in Turkey, nevertheless emerged victorious in municipal elections on Sunday, underscoring his party. “It is a political argument.”DEM co-president Tuncer Bakirhan reacted during a rally in front of the High Electoral Council in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Abdullah Zedan was elected with 55.48% of the vote in this largely Kurdish city near the Iranian border, compared to 27.15% for his main rival AKP, the party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A third political party in parliament, DEM, condemned the decision “illegal” of the Election Commission. According to images from Turkish news agency DHA, hundreds of supporters gathered in front of the party’s headquarters in vans to express their solidarity with the elected official, throwing smoke bombs and setting up barricades.

Around a hundred people also gathered in a tense atmosphere in Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul, a district traditionally rebellious and hostile to the government. “Not handing over his mandate to the DEM party candidate elected mayor of Van is tantamount to denying the will of the people of Van. This is unacceptable”reacted to

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