Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Key elections underway

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left and his wife Emine Erdogan salute supporters as he addresses an election rally ahead of today's parliamentary elections.

Turkish police have determined that at least one of the lethal explosions at a Kurdish party rally last week was from TNT, and that both explosions involved "cell phone mechanisms," a government minister said yesterday. Two people were killed.

The blasts came at a tense time as Turkey holds parliamentary elections today in which the Kurdish votes will be crucial in determining whether the ruling party gets the super majority it seeks.

Initial reports had said that electrical equipment had exploded, but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in comments published yesterday that the two explosions were acts of sabotage and provocation.

Davutoglu's ruling AKP party wants a large majority that would allow it to change Turkey's constitution and transfer the prime minister's executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a new presidential system.

If the Kurdish party, HDP, gets a minimum 10 per cent of the votes required to take seats in parliament, it would effectively block that possibility.

NO QUESTION OF WASTE

Late in the campaign, Erdogan responded indignantly to opposition criticism of a tangible symbol of his drive to build up the presidency: the lavish 1,150-room presidential palace which he built as prime minister and now occupies as president.

Complaining that cockroaches infested his old office, Erdogan said: "There can be no question of waste where representation is concerned."

Opposition parties have made Erdogan's spending on the palace as a theme of their campaigning in the run-up to today's elections, forcing him on the defensive. Last week, he denied that the palace had gold-plated toilet seats.