Turkey’s opposition lambasted President Tayyip Erdogan over his remarks labeling the election results for Istanbul mayorship dubious and rigged through an act of “organized crime” on Monday.
Following Erdogan’s remarks the chairs of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good Party (IYI), warned the president against the grave consequences of not reconciling with the ballot count results during a joint press conference.
Meral Aksener, the chair of the IYI Party said that by not coming to terms with the election results Erdogan had betrayed the nation’s will, which would not go without a backlash.
Aksener said Erdogan surpassed the regime of Turkey’s 7th president Kenan Evren, who took power after a military coup in 1980. She pointed to Evren’s acceptance of the election results in 1983 when the party he supported lost the poll. Evren conceded the loss despite the extraordinary powers he held as head of the military rule.
Aksener asserted that renewing the election until the ruling party wins is a practice of primitive dictatorships with no rule of law. She called on the authorities to speed up procedures for Istanbul mayor-elect Ekrem Imamoglu’s election certificate.
Imamoglu is ahead in the polls by 15,000 votes according to the Supreme Electoral Board’s data after more than 90 percent of recounting the invalid votes was over, said CHP’s chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Kilicdaroglu called on the highest election authority (YSK) to abide by the law and dismiss unsubstantiated appeals to the results.
Kilicdaroglu also alleged that a clandestine meeting took place between AK Party’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul, Erdogan, the Interior Minister, and the Justice Minister, and questioned the purpose of the meeting.
The ruling AK Party’s deputy chairman announced on Sunday that it will appeal to the YSK for a total recount of all ballots cast in Istanbul, citing irregularities that he alleged to be a result of “organized abuse”.
Erdogan also repeated the allegation on Monday while gave statements to reporters on his way to Russia and said that it was impossible for Imamoglu to claim victory by a margin of 13,000 votes in a city with 10 million voters.
During a rally he held in Istanbul on Monday, Imamoglu, said that by dismissing the margin showing he is ahead in the polls, Erdogan disrespects the votes of his own base as well.
Imamoglu reminded Erdogan of the words of his nationalist ally Devlet Bahceli, who after the polls said that one vote stands sufficient to win the elections.
The local election held on March 31 dealt a blow to Erdogan’s AK Party with the losses in Turkey’s big cities despite the majority of the popular vote AKP and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) obtained.
Eight days after the polls CHP’s Mansur Yavas, Ankara’s newly elected mayor, got his election certificate on Monday after the appeals of AK Party to the results proved futile.
However, the dispute over Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality drags on, with AK Party’s refusal to accept the results by attributing the loss to “irregularities”.
The unofficial results of the Istanbul race display 48,80% votes for Imamoglu against 48,55% of AKP’s candidate Binali Yildirim.