A local representative from an opposition party was shot dead during voting in Sunday’s presidential election in Turkey, local media have confirmed.
Mehmet Sıddık Durmaz, a Good (Iyi) Party representative from the Karaçoban district in the eastern province of Erzurum, was shot dead at a local secondary school following an argument between two local families.
“[Durmaz] was brutally shot dead by inglorious, dishonest people,” the Good Party announced on Twitter. “We are now responsible for seeking justice through the legal system.”
The killing took place during the presidential and parliamentary elections that saw Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) return to power until at least 2023. The elections were held under a state of national emergency, with police arresting dozens of people following clashes in the streets.
“Some 24 officials from the Interior Ministry were sent here. We did not accept this and we reacted,” said Republican People’s Party (CHP) Karacoban District President Husnu Yilan. “Then an MP hopeful from the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP came and we did not accept his presence either. After a fight broke out they started used guns.”
According to Turkish newspaper Yenicag, two other party workers were killed in the incident.
The killing comes after an election campaign marred by violence. The Turkish NGO Human Rights Association reported that at least 87 opposition supporters were wounded in the run-up to the vote. Those attacked included four members of the Good Party and four members of the AKP.
There were also multiple reports of intimidation against opposition campaigners, mainly in the form of “interventions” that prevented them from holding rallies, handing out flyers, and other campaign activities.
Erdogan declared victory on Sunday evening having won around 53 percent support, compared to 31 percent by opposition candidate Muharrem Ince. His presidential campaign centered around approval to implement a number of controversial reforms that will give him the power to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and declare a national state of emergency.
The reforms will also provide him with greater powers to appoint people into senior government positions and interfere in the judiciary. However, many opponents now fear the country will turn into a one-man dictatorship where Erdogan can rule by degree, with Turkey’s traditionally secular institutions likely to come under greater pressure to adopt forms of Islamic law.