Another crisis over rally location

ISTANBUL- The Istanbul Governor’s Office announced that it isn’t possible for both the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, to hold election rallies on March 22 at the same location in Istanbul, despite separate time slots.

Both parties are slated to hold rallies in Istanbul’s Kazlıçeşme Square located in the Zeytinburnu district on March 22, but Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler, whose office is in charge of the city's security, announced that it would not be possible at present. In response to the governor’s announcement, the CHP’s provincial chief, Gürsel Tekin, said the CHP had applied before the AKP and is determined to hold its rally."The Zeytinburnu district election board authorized the AKP to hold a rally in Kazlıçeşme Square until 1:45 p.m. and us after that. But Governor Güler objected to both parties holding rallies on the same day and at the same venue, citing security concerns. We are determined to hold our rally. We applied first. If need be, we can hold a draw. If that doesn’t work either, we can hold our rally in Sultanahmet or Çağlayan Square. As the CHP we are determined to hold our rally on March 22," Tekin said.

"The problem is not of our making. We applied first and another date is not possible," Tekin said he told Güler. "The governor suggested holding the rally on March 21. But that is not possible because (party leader) Deniz Baykal’s schedule is not free. He suggested two alternative locations. We will look into that," Tekin said.

Meanwhile, the CHP's candidate for Istanbul mayor, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, while campaigning in central Istanbul, said, "Normally it is our application. We applied early and the district election board should have assessed that. Let them show us a place and we will hold our rally there."

"If justice is applied, the venue should be given to us. We have suggested Taksim. If we are given Taksim, it will also be a rehearsal for Labor Day on May 1," Tekin said.
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