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Is Turkey’s shutdown of Hatay airport designed to help Erdogan in polls?

Hatay's mayor says the continuing halt of flights mean evacuees are unable to return for May 14 polls amid wider concern for election security.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

ISTANBUL — While Turkey fights to return its earthquake-hit provinces to a semblance of normality, questions about the viability of next month’s elections in the southern region are growing increasingly urgent. 

The mayor of Hatay, the worst-hit of 11 provinces in the disaster zone, questioned Wednesday why the city’s airport will be closed until after the May 14 polls, preventing voters from returning to cast their ballots. 

Lutfu Savas, who represents the Republican People’s Party (CHP) that leads the Nation Alliance opposition bloc, said it was not possible to book flights to Hatay Airport. 

“Everyone is wondering why tickets cannot be bought to Hatay until May 17,” he said in a statement to Cumhuriyet. “If there is a problem with the runway, let them explain it; otherwise they should tell us why the planes cannot land full of passengers.” 

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