Media supporting government claims coup against AKP

Pro-government media outlets have claimed that a coup was conducted in Turkey by way of the local election held on March 31, which resulted in governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s defeat in most of the big cities including Istanbul, one of the country’s business centers.

The results of Sunday’s election marked the first major electoral setback for the ruling AKP since it first ascended to power in 2002.

Although AKP and its nationalist ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has won the race in general by holding 51.64 percent of the votes, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has taken the lead in most of the major cities.

Ibrahim Karagul, editor-in-chief for the pro-AKP Yeni Safak daily, has said that AKP has lost major cities to CHP in the local election as a result of a coup against the party through polls on Sunday.

“Frankly, an Istanbul coup has been staged in the March 31 election. A coup has been staged through the election, through the ballot boxes. The multinational mind intervened in the March 31 election. Those inside and outside the country worked in cooperation to make the AK Party lose Istanbul, to collapse Istanbul,” he wrote in a column on Wednesday.

Yeni Safak’s Karagul claimed that the “Istanbul coup” was conducted by the same group of people who carried out a corruption probe in December 2013, the Gezi Park events and the attempted coup in 2016. “Here we can clearly see the fury of Gezi, the Dec[ember] 17-25 conspiracy, and the mind behind July 15. We know what those people said and wrote during the Gezi Park events too. We know what they were up to on July 15 too. We also know what those people are tasked with today,” he said.

Accusing opposition parties of AKP’s defeat in big cities, the columnist also stated: “AK Party’s vote storages were zeroed, rendered invalid, recorded incorrectly and transferred to the CHP. They were recorded under other parties to avoid drawing too much attention.”

Urging that the election in Istanbul must be rerun, Karagul added: “A deep and very extensive investigation on whether there is any affiliation between [new Istanbul Mayor] Ekrem Imamoğlu and FETO should be launched immediately.”

Another pro-government daily, Star, also made a similar accusation on Wednesday with a headline that read: “Who organized the coup via ballot box?”

Turkish government created the term FETO after the July 15 coup attempt to classify the Gulen Movement. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled Turkish cleric in the US, of masterminding the coup attempt although the latter strongly denies all accusations.

From December 17 to December 25 in 2013, a total of 89 people were detained as part of a corruption investigation, in which the governing AKP faced serious allegations of corruption.

Police officers who carried out the probe in 2013 were sentenced to life imprisonment by an Istanbul court in 2018.

The Gezi Park protests started as an environmental movement and then evolved into a riot against the increased authoritarianism of Erdogan’s rule in May 2013.

Erdogan has described the nationwide protests as a coup attempt by foreign powers and labeled all protestors terrorists.

Turkish police intervention in protests left eight people dead and about 8,000 injured. Since then Turkish authorities are seeking life sentences for 16 activists who participated in the protests.

Istanbul prosecutor wants life imprisonment for 16 on coup charges referring to Gezi protests

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