Europe

Turkey election: Anxiety overshadows campaign

A man waving a national flag in Istanbul, Turkey - Saturday 31 October 2015 Image copyright AP

Turkish voters are going to the polls on Sunday - for the second time in five months. The BBC's Selin Girit in Diyarbakir samples the national mood.

"Last exit before dictatorship" reads the headline of secularist, anti-government newspaper Cumhuriyet.

For the past day, its premises have been surrounded by the police after a map locating their offices in the capital, Ankara, was found on suspected militants from the so-called Islamic State group.

Earlier this week, the offices of the opposition media group Koza-Ipek were raided by the police after the government's seizure of its assets.

Broadcasts were disrupted and journalists not agreeing with the new pro-government editorial line were sacked.

As Turkey gears up for the re-run of parliamentary elections on Sunday, the opposition papers and voters alike feel increasingly wary.

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Media captionMark Lowen has been looking at why this election is so important

Ankara resident Nihat Sahinler says he is going to vote for one of the opposition parties.

"There is no excitement in these elections," he says.

"It feels like we are all exhausted and tired. What if we have another round of elections, we ask.

"I have a three-and-a-half-year old son; I am worried about his future in this country."

Rapping for votes

The mood is not so bleak for those who back the governing AK Party (AKP).

A rap song with undertones of an Ottoman empire army anthem is being shared by its supporters on social media.


More on Turkey's crucial vote:


"For peace, security and stability… For our future… AK party, the one and only party," the lyrics go.

AKP supporters believe that following the break-down in the two-year ceasefire with Kurdish militants in July, only their party can restore order in the country.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) is the president, but his name will not be the polling cards

"I believe the best way to maintain stability, economic success and to fight terror in this country is to vote for AK Party," says Ibrahim Yildirim.

"They may not have done everything right. But they will learn from their mistakes.

"I have two kids and I think AK Party will give them a much better future."

On streets across Turkey, there is not much hype for this second election in five months.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Streets may be festooned with flags, but people are suffering from election fatigue

And in Ankara there is an obvious "election fatigue" amongst the voters, says Sinan Onus, a colleague in the BBC Turkish Service.

"People wonder whether there will again be a hung parliament and if so whether this time round there will be a coalition government formed."

'Unhealthy obsession'

Here in the mainly Kurdish south-eastern city of Diyarbakir, where everyone sang and danced prior to the June elections, there is now a sense of anxiety and concern.

Two days before those polls, explosions went off at a rally killing four and injuring 400 pro-Kurdish HDP supporters.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The pro-Kurdish HDP party is popular in Diyarbakir

For social psychologist Melek Goregenli a society where peoples' lives are so defined by politics is not entirely healthy.

"If people thought they had some other way of changing their lives, they would not think so much of the polls," she says.

"I think the voter turnout will still be high."

Mr Sahinler, who is voting in Ankara, hopes this will be the case.

He tells me some his friends have travelled from other towns to be able to cast their ballots on Sunday.

"I resent those who will not vote tomorrow.

"If you don't vote, you have no right to criticise anything. First do what you have to do as a citizen."

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