'Women cannot vote because they are ignorant'
Further details have emerged about the allegations of a beating and duress that took place at the school on election day in Şanlıurfa Haliliye village. The witnesses said that women were not permitted to vote.
The claim that duress and violence was applied to witnesses in Şanlıurfa Haliliye Sub-Province, Uluhan Village on the day of the election has come to attention. Witnesses at Uluhan Religious Vocational Middle School, Aykut Kuğuoğlu and Abdullah Şanlı, who states that he was beaten up, spoke to Cumhuriyet about the events of that day.
During the 24 June elections, Aykut Kuğuoğlu, Mertcan Kuğuoğlu, Sinan Yayık and Abdullah Şanlı went from Istanbul and Sadettin Ersin Gül from Izmir to Uluhan Middle School to safeguard the ballot boxes. From what was claimed, the school head said the vote would be held at Uluhan Religious Vocational Middle School and the people were taken there.
“FAMILY HEADS WILL COME AND VOTE ON BEHALF OF ALL THE FAMILY”
From what Aykut Kuğuoğlu has indicated, there were just one specialized sergeant and two privates in attendance at the school by way of law enforcement forces. People claiming to be the headman and the AKP provincial official had begun to pressurise the ballot box chair into making a start before the committee had been formed.
“LAST YEAR SOMEBODY DIED”
From what is alleged, after the ballot box chair said, “I will not start until the committee has been formed,” the headman called Kuğuoğlu and said, “Last year somebody died here. Let’s see it doesn’t happen again. Now the family heads will come and vote on behalf of all the family. Don’t butt in and don’t end up sorry. Things have worked like this in the east for years and you can’t change it.”
“WOMEN CANNOT VOTE BECAUSE THEY ARE IGNORANT”
Saying, “Women didn’t have the right to vote,” Kuğuoğlu stated, “The men kept saying, ‘My wife doesn’t know and I will vote’.” And he indicated that the headman said, “In the east, women cannot vote because they are ignorant’.” Kuğuoğlu continued, “Then the person who said he was the AKP official asked to see our IDs and we showed them. He went alongside my friends and said, “Definitely don’t address the people.” I gave the warning, “We cannot put our lives at risk.”
“YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF HERE ALIVE”
Kuğuoğlu gave the following description of how his friend Abdullah Şanlı was beaten up:
“Noise erupted from the top floor. We ran up and Abdullah was trying to get away from them covered in blood. I got him out of there together with the gendarmerie officer and took him into the playground. He said the AKP official was entering and exiting the cabinet with everyone and he cautioned the chair and he paid absolutely no attention to him. But the AKP man walked up to him menacingly and beat up our friend along with the angry and aggressive group in his entourage, saying, ‘I’ll kill you all here. You won’t be able to get out of here alive’.”
“EIGHT OR NINE PEOPLE ATTACKED HIM IN AN ORGANISED WAY”
They were determined to send us away from there. Eight or nine people attacked him in an organised way. The gendarmerie’s demeanour during the incident didn’t satisfy us and we abandoned the ballot boxes because we had concerns for our safety of life.”
“EVERYONE’S VOTE WILL BE CAST”
Having stated that there were 100-120 people in the village, Kuğuoğlu noted that there were around 1500 ballots in the school and the headman said, “Everyone’s vote will be cast.”
“OUR FRIEND GAVE HIS STATEMENT”
Alleging that they were verbally abused, Kuğuoğlu commented, “Those who had voted did not leave the school and amassed around us. We were constantly jostled and abused verbally and psychologically by the people and the AKP members. A person in his early fifties who claimed to be on the Ak Party Provincial Management was one of the leaders who beat up our friend and gave orders. We later made it to the police station and our friend gave his statement. We went to the hospital from there and received a report by hand that he had been beaten.”
Abdullah Şanlı, who states that he was beaten and threatened, gave the following account:
“HE ENCOURAGED THEM TO VOTE FOR THE AK PARTY”
Noting, “Of the seven or eight votes cast until I was beaten up, only one person’s vote conformed to procedure,” Şanlı said, “The classroom was very crowded and there were people waiting with two or three identification cards in their hands. The person who beat me up intervened while almost all these seven or eight people voted. He entered the cabinet, opened the curtain and looked. He encouraged them to vote for the Ak Party and looked at their votes.”
“ALL WOMEN’S VOTES WERE CAST BY THEIR HUSBANDS”
Saying that women’s votes were cast by their husbands, Şanlı commented, “I witnessed in a brief space of time the casting of multiple votes, the casting of votes with IDs of people who did not attend and, with the exception of one elderly woman, all women’s votes being cast by their husbands. Everyone was threatened with death. I got a report that I had been beaten and made a complaint. But, despite the gendarmerie coming, they lost the man all of a sudden. I was unable even to find out his identification particulars.”
“THEY WILL TRY TO OBJECT”
Şanlı indicated that a record was made at the CHP Provincial Chair’s Office after the incident had taken place and they said they would go to the Provincial Electoral Board and object and push for annulment.
“I’LL GET MY GUN”
Şanlı gave the following account on his social media account of the beating up incident: “With someone coming and trying to enter the cabinet with a voter there, when I said to the ballot box chair, “He shouldn’t enter the cabinet. Let’s not permit it,” he shouted at me despite knowing that I was a witness at the polling station, “Who are you? Blood flowed here last year. This year it will flow from you. I’ll get my gun,” and started to throttle and punch me. I have no idea what he was holding but suddenly there was a thump above my eyebrow. Anyhow, when the man started dealing blows, the five or six people there started kicking and I could only manage to crouch down and protect my head.”
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