Ahead of every election in Turkey, political parties make myriad promises to the jobless and the poor, pledging social benefits for low-income families and retirees and housing projects for the homeless. The promises are typically forgotten after a government is formed and then everything goes about as usual. Ahead of the June 7 parliamentary elections, however, two issues appear bound to persist and keep fueling debate:
- It has emerged that the authorities have secretly profiled all of Turkey’s 77 million citizens, with all sorts of personal information included.
- The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has come up with an alternative “profiling” that draws up a comprehensive picture of poverty in Turkey.
The revelation that police have secretly profiled all Turkish citizens was made by CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu during a party meeting in parliament March 17. Kilicdaroglu based his claim on a document penned by the intelligence department of the directorate-general of police, which he showed at the meeting. According to the CHP chairman, two data analysis programs, called Deva 1 and Deva 2, were used to collect information, with their databases now containing personal details about every person in the country. “Since we are politicians, I can see why we are being profiled. But why are you profiling taxi drivers, for God’s sake?” Kilicdaroglu said in his speech, addressing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.