Irregularities in Istanbul vote results: Erdoğan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said some “organized crime” had been carried out during last week’s election for Istanbul mayor.

“We, as the political party, have detected an organized crime and some organized activities,” Erdoğan told reporters ahead of his departure from Istanbul for Moscow on April 8.

“There is an element of robbery in all of this. There was some theft at the ballot box,” said Erdoğan, who is also the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“No one has the right to declare themselves victorious with a difference of around 13,000-14,000 votes,” Erdoğan said of the Istanbul results.

Erdoğan also said there was not just one irregularity, but many irregularities over the local poll results. “As for the irregularities, it was not just in some places, almost all of it is irregular.”

The AKP applied to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to contest the results, he said.

“Election process is completed, the next process is judicial process,” the president said.

Erdoğan said when there was a problem with a percentage of votes in other countries, appeals and even new elections were not unusual.

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes on March 31 in the local elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, muhtars (neighborhood heads), and members of elder councils for the next five years.

According to unofficial results, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu leads Istanbul with 48.79 percent of the votes, whereas Binali Yıldırım of AKP follows with 48.51 percent of the votes.

Both parties say the difference is now less than 16,000 ballots. The two candidates each received more than 4 million votes.

İmamoğlu has declared himself Istanbul mayor and called on the AKP to accept the result. He addressed citizens in front of Istanbul’s Kartal municipality building who had come to see him after hearing the news that he would be there to congratulate Gökhan Yüksel, the newly elected Kartal mayor from the CHP.

“There is currently a difference of about 15,500 between the votes. They [the AKP] are trying to define the elections as ‘dubious’ which was won by 15,000 votes on the grounds that the difference is little, they are applying [to the Supreme Election Council],” İmamoğlu said, adding that over 90 percent of the invalid votes were recounted in Istanbul.

Hurriyet Daily News

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