Turkey elections: The one image that shows how important democracy is to the Turkish people

A man allegedly injured in Friday’s bomb attack at a political rally leaves hospital to vote

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Voting has finally closed after a tense election campaign in Turkey, with bombings, accusations and counter-claims dominating the rhetoric ahead of the crucial vote.

But while the arguments raged over a ballot that will soon reveal whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the power to grant himself a range of new powers, one image stood out as a reminder of how important democracy is to the Turkish people.

Posted to Twitter, it shows a man with a heavily-bandaged face and his arms in casts nonetheless dropping his voting slip into the ballot box.

Identified as Huseyin Toprak, he was among around 200 wounded in bombings at a rally for the pro-Kurdish opposition HDP party on Friday, but made the journey from hospital to cast his ballot.

The image sent out a powerful message in the wake of the attacks which killed two in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

President Erdogan has indicated that he wants to endow his office with extraordinary powers that would significantly change Turkey's democracy and prolong his reign as the country's most powerful politician.

His ruling party, the AKP, is expected to win the election – but will need a supermajority of two-thirds of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament if it is to be able to change the constitution.

Erdogan himself has described the described the Diyarbakir attack as a “provocation” designed to undermine Sunday's election.

But those marching at the scene of the attack appeared to blame him for the incident, while HDP Selahattin Demirtas criticised his reaction, saying: “He should go to Diyarbakir. Is he not the president of 77 million people? He ought to leave flowers where people were killed.”

The preliminary results of the election were not expected to be announced until later on Sunday.

Comments