Municipalities on alert after previous brawl around Turkish elections
Several communities are watching how Dutch-Turkish citizens will react to the outcome of Sunday's elections in Turkey. They are on alert because a brawl broke out last week at Amsterdam's RAI. A polling station had been set up in the complex, and when the polls closed around 9 p.m. Sunday night, about 300 people clashed.
Turkey is currently holding parliamentary and presidential elections. The big question is whether President Erdogan will succeed in staying in power, as opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu is doing well in the polls. More than 200,000 Dutch-Turkish citizens have already been able to cast their ballots in Amsterdam, The Hague, Deventer and Eindhoven. It is not known how many eligible voters actually voted.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said in an interview with AT5 on Friday night that the municipality expected celebrations on the streets, but also disturbances. "We as a triangle - police, prosecutor's office and city administration - are of course preparing for this in the usual way." If a second round of voting is necessary, the Turkish consulate will have to prepare a security plan to ensure a safe process, Halsema told the city council. It is not yet clear whether Dutch-Turkish citizens will be able to vote in a second round of RAI elections again.
Deventer Mayor Ron König said he would monitor the outcome of the elections and reactions to them, and consult with the Turkish consulate and police on the matter. "We in Deventer are used to it a lot: as usual with spontaneous riots, police, enforcement officers (BOAs), and other officials are on standby."
In Rotterdam, the police are mainly busy on Sunday with the possible championship celebration of Feyenoord, for which hundreds of people and a lot of equipment are deployed. "We are not deploying extra people for the Turkish elections," a Rotterdam police spokesperson said. However, the police took into account "that on Sunday there will be elections in Turkey, which will undoubtedly cause reactions, and that is allowed."
Reporting by ANP