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Fear, prohibition and attack

Ruling circles, who express outrage at their events in Europe being barred, remain passive when it comes to the steps taken against ‘No’ supporters in Turkey.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 13 Mart 2017 Pazartesi, 12:26

İklim Öngel

The CHP has documented the duress placed on ‘No’ supporters ever since the debate ended over the eighteen-article executive presidency constitution in the parliamentary Constitutional Commission. It transpires that ‘No’ supporters have faced at least 107 instances of threat, duress, insult, targeting and attack in the time since the debate on the constitutional package started in the General Assembly of Parliament. At least 115 people involved in the ‘No’ campaign have been arrested. There have been expulsions of ‘No’ supporters in the MHP, three journalists have been sacked for supporting ‘No’ and many armed attacks have taken place.
The CHP’s Deputy General Chair with Responsibility for Human and Natural Rights, Izmir MP Zeynep Altıok Akatlı, has compiled a report on the duress that ‘No’ supporters have been subjected to since the constitutional amendment passed through the Commission. The notable incidents in the report are as follow:
* 115 people involved in the ‘No’ campaign have been arrested.
* Administrative fines were imposed on five people putting up posters. On the day on which debate on the constitutional amendment started in the general assembly, the Union of Forces for Labour and Democracy was prohibited by the police from making a press statement in front of parliament, while the assembled group including MPs was attacked with plastic bullets and pressurised water.
* Ankara Provincial Governorship prohibited demonstrations of all kinds citing ‘security grounds.’
* The public prevented the arrest of youngsters who were singing the ‘No to presidency’ song on a ferry on the Beşiktaş-Kadıköy route in Istanbul.
* A twenty-five-person group attacked the head office of the public workers’ trade union Kamu-Sen. Those staging the raid called for the resignation of Kamu-Sen’s General Chair İsmail Koncuk.
* Following approval of the bill in parliament, AKP supporters staged an armed attack on young people who were campaigning for ‘No’ in Istanbul’s Maltepe. One person was injured.
* Crime syndicate leader Sedat Peker threatened ‘No’ supporters: ‘If anyone comes out onto the street, we will be waiting for them on the street!’
‘No’ supporters are the devil
* Misyak magazine portrayed ‘No’ supporters as devils in a cartoon it published.
* Prime-Minister Yıldırım accused ‘No’ supporters of ‘supporting terrorism.’
* Once copies of Sabahattin Önkibar’s book ‘Devlet Bahçeli and Everything for the MHP’ had been removed from circulation, there was an attack on the head office in Istanbul’s Gümüşsuyu of the Kırmızı Kedi publishing house that published the book.
* Journalist İrfan Değirmenci was sacked from Kanal D for coming out in support of ‘No’.
* An armed attack was staged on Fahrettin Yokuş, the ‘No’ supporting Chair of the office workers trade union, Türk-Büro-Sen.
* The power was cut off and the police entered the hall at an event to be addressed by Meral Akşener in Çanakkale. Akşener delivered her speech using a megaphone and illumination from telephones.
* Posta newspaper employee Hakan Çelenk was sacked for supporting ‘No’.
* Erdoğan made the comment ‘Consenting to evil is evil’ aimed at ‘No’ supporters.
* Digiturk for no reason removed the film ‘NO’ from its film catalogue.
* Erdoğan called those opposed to the constitutional amendment ‘gormless.’
* Süheyl Batum was sacked from Bahçeşehir University for going on ‘No’ trips.
Attack with stones and sticks
* While the CHP’s Selin Sayek Böke was appearing on a live broadcast, a person called in to the TV station and made a death threat against Böke.
* Akit newspaper columnist and former MP, Şevki Yılmaz, commented on Akit TV that ‘There is a hallowed legend about the Prophet saying that 16 April will end in victory.’
* One of the members of the June Movement campaigning for ‘No’ in Ümraniye was knifed.
* Kocaeli Municipality removed the message ‘NO to water loss and theft’ from water bills.
* Erdoğan said, ‘The place ‘No’ will go is Qandil. No is equal to a pit.’
* A constitutional panel at Istanbul Kültür University, to be attended by the CHP’s İlhan Cihaner, was banned by university management. 
* Esenler Municipality blocked vehicles that the CHP had decked out for the referendum.
* There was an attack on Sinan Oğan while he was giving a lecture by a group shouting ‘The movement’s leader is Devlet Bahçeli.’
* There was an attack on students who were putting up ‘The University says No to the presidency’ posters at Karadeniz Technical University’s Civil Engineering canteen and one student suffered a broken nose.
* The Ataturkist Thought Association was denied a venue for a ‘No’ panel to be attended by Metin Feyzioğlu in Malatya.
* Yeni Şafak newspaper’s theology columnist, Hayrettin Karaman, accused ‘No’ supporters of being against Islam.

No Party blocked

CHP MP Barış Yarkadaş has noted that a group of politicians who wished to organise under a No Party umbrella effectively ran up against a blockade by the AKP. Yarkadaş said, ‘Theirs is no different from Germany’s prohibitive approach. They get angry with Germany but initiate even harsher practices in Turkey.’ Former General Chair of the Strong Turkey Party, Tuna Bekleviç, and his friends submitted a petition to the Interior Ministry a while back. Bekleviç acquired the right to the No Party name. However, despite the passage of 26 days since the application, the Interior Ministry is not taking the necessary action. As such, the right of Bekleviç and his friends to campaign and organise is being effectively blocked. Yarkadaş, who has brought the matter onto the parliamentary agenda and has asked a question to the Prime-Minister, commented ‘The Ministry’s door has become a wall. No reply is even forthcoming to the party founders’ petition. This amounts to a constitutional crime. The AKP is adding yet one more to its crimes.’

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