Turkish intelligence warns against attacks ahead of elections

Report says that potential provocative attacks seeking to influence voter opinion ahead of the national election will target Turkey's metropolitan areas

Turkish intelligence warns against attacks ahead of elections

Intelligence units from the National Police Department and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) have this past week issued warnings against a possible increase in attacks intending to create unrest ahead of the June 12 national elections.

The National Police Department says that potential provocative attacks seeking to influence voter opinion ahead of the national election will target Turkey's metropolitan areas. They say that even the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which supposedly declared a cease-fire until June, might stage attacks. İstanbul, Mersin, Diyarbakır and Adana are at risk of witnessing serious provocations, particularly directed at Alevi communities. The Police Department has asked for tighter security measures in these, as well as other large cities.

Attacks on security forces are also expected, particularly in the spring months. This notice comes two days after a terrorist trying to hurl a hand grenade at a police station in the Doğu Beyazıt district of Ağrı was injured when the grenade exploded in his hand.

PM issues first warning

In fact, the first of such warnings came from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who spoke on January 21 at a meeting with the governors of Turkey's 81 provinces, saying that such provocative attacks, particularly from the PKK, were to be expected. Erdoğan mentioned this again during his address to the nation speech on Jan. 28, when he said: "Certain segments who are known to us all once again intend to suppress the nation's will by creating fear, causing agitation and influencing the election process. Terrorist groups in particular are trying to exploit the nationalist sentiments of our country by increasing their provocative acts of violence ahead of the election."

There is also intelligence signaling the possibility of mass anti-government rallies, not unlike the ones led by the Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD) and the Support for Contemporary Life Association (ÇYDD), where hundreds of thousands marched on the streets of İzmir, İstanbul and Ankara. Many of those associated with the ADD and ÇYDD are known for their close ties to the Ergenekon terrorist organization -- whose members are accused of having plotted to overthrow the government. In fact, the ADD made an executive decision to reorganize the rallies of 2007, called the Republican Rallies, which the ÇYDD and the Workers' Party (İP) also support. The İP head is currently in jail as an Ergenekon suspect.

The police department also emphasizes a threat based on intelligence indicating that there are groups planning to assassinate Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and MHP parliamentary group chairman Oktay Vural. Bahçeli's bodyguards were increased following the Feb. 3 warning, according to which the MHP leader is on the assassination list of the terrorist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), a group known for carrying out attacks for other groups on demand. There are also warnings against potential attacks on MHP buildings in different cities.

Warning against increased attacks on Alevi organizations and cemevis ahead of the June 12 elections, the police department has decided to increase security measures around Alevi facilities, as well as buildings used by non-Muslim groups. This warning comes a month after eight men wearing masks attacked the Başakşehir Cemevi in İstanbul on Dec. 27. In a recent statement Bahçeli also warned against possible attempts to create a conflict between Alevis and Sunnis.

CHA

Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2011, 16:04
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