Employees at the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality were forced to attend an election rally held by president and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district on Wednesday, according to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily.
The employees were obliged to sign a paper promising attendance to make sure that they went to the rally; those who refused to sign were threatened with dismissal. Cumhuriyet daily reporter Alican Uludağ said he witnessed the incident himself.
The municipal employees were transported to the meeting area on city buses.
Turkey will hold local elections on March 31.
One of the municipal workers, a security guard, told Cumhuriyet on condition of anonymity that they were told to attend the Erdoğan rally in Gölbaşı or face the risk of losing their jobs.
“We don’t want to attend such rallies. But we have to. We’re worried about losing our jobs. We have families to support. They say, ‘go’ and we go, they say ‘come’ and we come. We are like modern-day slaves,” the municipal worker said.
The AKP has attracted widespread criticism for using public resources for its election campaigns and forcing public workers and even sometimes students to attend rallies so there is a huge crowd in the meeting venue.