ISTANBUL — At a campaign rally on Friday for the approaching general elections, Istanbul’s current mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, was met with violence as his campaign bus was pelted with stones by a group of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The incident occurred during a campaign stop in the district of Maltepe, where Imamoglu was scheduled to address a crowd of supporters.
This incident comes as tensions continue to rise in the lead-up to Turkey’s national elections, set to take place on 14 May, and has raised concerns about the safety of opposition candidates and supporters as Erdogan’s rhetoric turns increasingly divisive amidst slipping poll numbers.
At a recent election rally in the city of Antalya, Erdogan accused the opposition of being “pro-LGBT”, using the term as a slur against his political opponents. This comes as Turkey’s LGBTQ+ community faces increased discrimination and violence under Erdogan’s rule, with several individuals being arrested or attacked in recent years.
The incident on Friday has raised concerns about the safety of opposition candidates and supporters during the upcoming elections.
According to Turkish media reports, at least seven people sustained minor injuries. Imamoglu labeled the incident as a provocation and urged local officials to provide an explanation.
The Turkish government has yet to comment on the incident. However, with tensions high and the election just a week away, it is unlikely that this will not be the last incident of its kind.