Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gul, has lashed out at the decision to annul the Istanbul mayoral election and hold it again.
“Whatever I felt in the face of the Constitutional Court’s unjust ‘367 ruling’ in 2007, that is what I felt yesterday when I heard about the decision of YSK, another high court,” Gül stated in a tweet on Tuesday.
“That’s a shame. We are going nowhere fast [in securing justice],” said Gül, who was one of the founding members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Gul’s comments follow in the wake of the decision on Monday by the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to annul the Istanbul mayoral election that was won by the candidate of Turkey’s main secularist opposition.
The YSK made the ruling after the AKP submitted an extraordinary objection to the election result, claiming there were voting irregularities.
The YSK said the legal basis for its ruling was that 3,755 polling officials were not public servants as is required by the law.
The judges of the council argued the number of votes placed in the ballot boxes supervised by these officials was sufficient to affect the election outcome.
Gul’s reference to the ‘367 ruling’ relates to a decision of Turkey’s top court in 2007 when he was put forward as a candidate for the presidency.
Then, presidential candidates were voted in by parliament and the court ruled, in a move regarded by many as designed to hinder Gul, that at least 367 deputies must take part in a vote for it to be valid.
Core values damaged
Ahmet Davutoglu, who previously served as a prime minister until he was forced out in 2016 due to an apparent power struggle with party officials close to the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also voiced concerns over the decision to repeat Istanbul mayoral vote.
Posting a series of tweets on his official account on Tuesday, Davutoglu said the process, which started following the March 31 local elections and ended with the controversial YSK ruling, damaged core values of Turkey.
“Despite all its shortcomings, the biggest power of Turkish political life and democracy is legitimate elections. YSK’s decision goes against universal law and established practices,” he argued.
Davutoglu said: “The biggest loss for political movements is not losing elections but moral supremacy in social conscience.”
There have been claims since before the local government elections of March 31 that sidelined AKP veterans — including Gül and Davutoglu among others — have been preparing to launch a breakaway party to challenge President Erdogan.
The speculation has mounted after both politicians’ recent criticisms of AKP, which have been interpreted as a sign of increasing discontent within a party that has proven remarkably unified and robust during its 17 years in power.
Although Ankara is filled with such rumors, a public statement acknowledging or denying the claims has not been made by any of the politicians yet.