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No one should disgrace Turkey, Istanbul’s mayor-elect warns on recount demands

Istanbul’s mayor elect Ekrem İmamoğlu who won the March 31 election with a narrow margin warned that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) demands for the recount of the discarded votes could “disgrace” Turkey at a time of “delicate economic and political balances”.
Winning the election race on the social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) against former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, İmamoğlu told YetkinReport: “No one can usurp the will of 16 million Istanbulites, we cannot let it happen.”
Istanbul is the biggest city of Turkey where almost a fifth of the country’s population lives with 11 million registered voters. On the election night a debate had started when the government-run Anadolu Agency (AA) had stop providing poll results when İmamoğlu was closing the gap in between; nevertheless he claimed his win the same night. Next day on April 1st when Sadi Güven, the head of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) confirmed that İmamoğlu had A Kraft of more than 28 thousand votes, AK Parti officials started to claim that there could be more votes for them among some 319 thousand discarded votes. By that time it was clear that the CHP candidates had already won the municipalities of the next four big cities; the capital Ankara, İzmir, Adana and Antalya. Since Güven’s statement to isolate his Board from the AA acts, the gap has narrowed down to 23 thousand votes. But ironically, the CHP votes started to increase, though in hundreds in the first few polling stations where the votes were recounted; the elections were held in an AK Parti dominated atmosphere after all.
“Regarding [AK Parti] objections I trust the law, the state institutions and the YSK” İmamoğlu told YetkinReport; “We got all of the registered poll station counts for 31,186 boxes [in Istanbul]. We won the election. No one can usurp the will of 16 million Istanbulites, we cannot let it happen.”
İmamoğlu continued as follows:
• “In every polling station there were government officers, at least two AK Parti officials, poll observers and observing voters, and the vote counts took place in front of them. When there was a problem they were the ones to intervene and the reports were undersigned due to those objections. Current objections are made to confuse minds.
• “I invite all those in charge at the YSK to intervene and stop this move. No one can ignore the delicate economic and political balances that Turkey is facing and disgrace Turkey in the eyes of the world. It’s not good for Turkey or for anybody to create more distrust. I invite Mr [Tayyip] Erdoğan and Mr [Devlet] Bahçeli [the leader of the nationalist Movement Party (MHP)] to take initiative on this matter as responsible statesmen.”
Among the “delicate balances” İmamoğlu mentioned, there are the economic reforms that President Erdoğan promised on the election night to gain the trust of foreign investors in particular and the tension with the U.S. over the Russian S-400 missiles and the delivery of F-35 fighter jets, with possible impacts on economy, as well as regional politics.
The objection deadline expires in two days, before the weekend. Other parties, the CHP in this case have the right to object the YSK ruling if AK Parti’s Yıldırım is announced as the winner after the recounts. There is a possibility that the election in Istanbul could be repeated on June 2, if the YSK rules an irregularity in the voting and the vote count process.

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