Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has signaled he will not concede the results of the March 31 local election in Istanbul which resulted in a shocking defeat of his ruling AK Party.
Erdogan said on Monday it was impossible for the main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP)’s mayor-elect Ekrem Imamoglu to claim victory by a margin of 13,000-14,000 votes in a city with 10 million voters.
The Turkish president spoke to journalists at Istanbul Ataturk Airport before he traveled to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. He claimed irregularity in the local election calling CHP’s win in Istanbul as “organized crime.”
“The citizens are telling us to protect their rights, they are complaining of organized crimes. And we, as political parties, have determined such organized crimes,” Reuters quoted Erdogan as saying.
“We will demonstrate how they [opposition] gerrymandered during the voting by revealing documents, information, and even TV and security footages,” vowed a determined Erdogan, as a sign his party’s struggle for not handing over Istanbul will continue.
His party seeks a full recount of the ballots in Turkey’s largest city where Islamist mayors’ 25-year-long rule was over according to the unofficial results from last week’s voting.
The initial results showed a narrow victory for CHP with 48,80 percent votes for Imamoglu against 48,55 percent of AKP’s candidate Binali Yildirim.
Subsequently, AKP appealed to Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) for vote recounts in all 39 districts of Istanbul.
Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) had appealed the initial results in all 39 districts of Istanbul, leading to partial or full recounts across Turkey’s largest city, which has some 10 million voters. On Sunday AKP said it sought a full recount.
Erdogan said he would only accept the result when the YSK has processed their appeals.
“When the appeals have been completed, we will accept the result,” he asserted.
On Monday, YSK Chair Sadi Guven refused to comment on Erdogan’s statements justifying “legal procedure was going on.”