Bronwen Jones of Mansfield Chambers Joins Delegation of UK Election Monitors in Turkey for Historic Election
Bronwen Jones of chambers' Family and Immigration teams has taken part in a delegation to observe the Turkish general election, which was held on 7 June 2015. The delegation has now returned to the UK after a stunning result took the pro-Kurdish HDP (People's Democratic Party) into Turkey's national assembly for the first time.
The group has reported that it witnessed no serious violations on election day but did report concerns about the fairness of the election campaign, including uneven media coverage as between the different parties, violence and harassment targeted at the HDP, and the stance of Turkey's officially neutral President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who openly campaigned for the largest party in the national assembly, of which he is the former leader, the Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party). Palpable tension was observable among the public in Diyarbakir and Gaziantep, where the delegation was based. On the Friday prior to the vote, an explosion at the HDP's last election rally in Diyarbakir killed three people. Two days after the election, three HDP members were shot dead at a coffee house in the same city.
Along with Bronwen, the delegation included Sean Hawkey, official representative of the Green Party for England and Wales; Melanie Gingell, human rights lawyer; barrister, Doughty Street Chambers; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer in Political Sociology in Department of sociology at Cambridge University; John Hunt, Journalist, writer, and editor; and Dr Austin Reid, consultant in international university development.
Sean Hawkey captured much of the delegation, including the aftermath of the explosions in Diyarbakir last Friday as well as the celebrations, in a fantastic photo series which is available to view here: