Turkish police conducted Tuesday a search on a warehouse belonging to the governorship of the eastern province of Tunceli on an official complaint that political party flags and other propaganda materials were being stored. A Turkish official said no propaganda material has been found in the search and also denied that it was made on a warehouse belonging to governor's office. (UPDATED)
Turkish police had conducted a search on a warehouse belonging to the Tunceli governorship on an official complaint from provincial council members from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) that political party flags and other propaganda materials were being stored.
Police found seven placards belonging to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and handed them over to Public Prosecutor Ali Cetin, Dogan News Agency said.
Provincial council member from the DTP, Ozgur Soylemez, claimed a large amount of other propaganda material belonging to the AKP, including party flags, placards, posters and flyers, were removed prior to the search.
Under Turkish law, governors are public servants and are banned from having any political party affiliations.
Tunceli Governor Mustafa Yaman came under the spotlight recently after white goods were distributed to the poor as part of the governorship’s aid campaign, a move heavily criticized by the opposition parties and the media as an attempt by the ruling party to woo voters ahead of the local elections on March 29.
Tunceli is the only province that the AKP has failed to win any representatives for parliament.
No political propaganda material has been found in the search conducted by police on a warehouse belonging to a state administration in the eastern province of Tunceli, an official said on Tuesday.
General Secretary of the special provincial administration, Mehmet Tunc, also told the Anatolian Agency that the search was made in a warehouse attached to his office, and not the governor's office.
Tunc earlier in the day claimed AKP posters were accidentally mixed in among posters prepared by the governorship for the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to the province last October.
Former Turkish Justice Minister Prof. Hikmet Sami Turk told hurriyet.com.tr that those responsible could be charged and jailed for up to three years.
He said the upcoming elections would not be cancelled as a result of the discovery, adding that the incident does not bind the party.
Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that he telephoned Yaman after watching television reports regarding the issue.
"Mr. Governor told me that there has been no search at the governor's office, and that news reports suggesting that such material has been found were wrong. The incident is related to a worker in the special administration. That is what he told me," he was quoted by Dogan News Agency as saying.