Will the AKP accept its defeat in Istanbul?

The CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu seems to have won the mayoral election in Istanbul by a narrow margin. The Supreme Electoral Council has rejected calls for a complete recount so the AKP is now demanding a full rerun of the election. Erdoğan talked of "organised crime" in the voting procedure. Commentators discuss who is right.

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Milliyet (TR) /

Turkey isn't a banana republic!

Milliyet finds the opposition's fierce insistence that it won the election suspicious:

“The behaviour of Ekrem İmamoğlu [the CHP's mayoral candidate for Istanbul] and other CHP people - we know them all - is incomprehensible. They are in a suspicious rush. They are screaming for the certificate of appointment like children screaming for their dummy. ... This isn't a banana republic! This is a state governed by the rule of law, and that's why it is doing what the law foresees now. ... Are we supposed to appoint him as mayor even before the procedure has ended, or even before the votes have been counted? Why all the fuss and hurry? As if they were trying to take something and run. Or perhaps they know something we don't?”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Typical authoritarian mindset

Well surprise, surprise: Erdoğan is a poor loser, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung comments sarcastically:

“Of course, for the president who dramatically extended his power after the coup attempt in 2016 the reason for the AKP's electoral defeat cannot be voter dissatisfaction, for example with the economic situation. No, only criminal activities can be to blame. That's the typical mentality of an authoritarian ruler for whom any loss of power can only be a crime. By definition, then, democracy is what happens when he wins.”

Turun Sanomat (FI) /

A test of legal standards

Turun Sanomat criticises the recount in Istanbul:

“The local elections have shown that despite the AKP's country-wide victory the opposition is still relevant. Despite Erdoğan's appeals and the AKP's hold on many media, the party lost the election in five of Turkey's six biggest cities. After the last local elections the opposition called in vain for a recount. This time Erdoğan and the AKP wanted a partial recount of votes in Istanbul. Such recounts are among the fundamental principles of the state of law. But changing a result just because one deems it unacceptable is not. Once again the implementation of a legal norm that is among the criteria for EU membership is being put to the test.”

T24 (TR) /

Propaganda for a revote

The AKP is pursuing a specific goal in calling for a recount in Istanbul and other cities where the results were close, T24 believes:

“The reason that they're saying that all the votes must be recounted is that they've realised that recounting only the invalid ballots would not change the results. Soon they'll say that this 'controversial election' must be annulled and repeated. They're paving the way for this now. The Supreme Electoral Council YSK can decide that this must be done, and they know all too well that this couldn't be appealed. But would the Council make such a decision? Yes, it would. Even if there are signed election protocols from each of the electoral districts, what wouldn't it do if the order came from above?”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

President in a predicament

For the Frankfurter Rundschau Erdoğan faces a dilemma:

“If he recognises CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu as the winner, the latter could become a dangerous rival in the next presidential elections. If he disregards the voters' will, he would cross the red line that separates him from dictatorship. That would not only risk triggering a popular uprising but also damage his legitimacy and further undermine the confidence of the markets. The EU should remind him of how much his country needs foreign investment and how crucial the rule of law is in attracting it.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Ice getting thinner and thinner

Svenska Dagbladet explains in whose company Erdoğan will be if he stops at nothing to maintain his grip on power:

“Notwithstanding the losses in the larger cities, a majority of voters cast their ballots for the AKP, and the party still has control over key areas. Erdoğan is now pushing for a recount in Istanbul. The fear is that he'll do whatever it takes to keep control of the city. ... But if he doesn't give the people any choice he'll continue to move in the direction of the very thin ice on which the dictators in the Middle East are now treading.”