17 hurt in Turkey election fight

Seventeen people have been injured in poll-related violence in Turkey, as the country holds legislative elections.

17 hurt in Turkey election fight
Seventeen people have been injured in poll-related violence in Turkey, as the country holds legislative elections.

The Anatolia news agency reports scuffles between rival party workers have left two people slightly injured in Demre, a tourist haven in southern Turkey.

A row erupted between supporters of the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over claims AKP workers had dumped leaflets on the streets, breaching an election day campaign ban.

Both sides have pressed charges.

Officials in the mainly Kurdish south-eastern province of Diyarbakir say three men were also injured when two groups attacked each other with knives and sticks during voting at a polling station in Bismil.

Anatolia says one of the men was badly wounded.

In the village of Buyukakoren, also in Diyarbakir, villagers and rival party workers fought after a man tried to help his illiterate wife to vote inside the polling booth.

Officials say three villagers sustained knife wounds and another three suffered head injuries from flying stones and sticks.

Anatolia also reports six men were hurt when a political discussion at a coffee house erupted into a free-for-all in Sason, in the eastern province Batman.

Passions may be high but Turkey has been largely peaceful.

The vote is seen as a crucial test of the country's secular system, which attempts to maintain a fine balance between Islam and democracy.

The election was called to resolve a political crisis caused when the governing party nominated the devout Muslim Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, for the presidency.

The Opposition and the military blocked the vote, claiming the secular system was in danger.

AFP

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Temmuz 2007, 19:51
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