After its defeat AKP wants re-run of elections in Istanbul
The AKP has asked Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) to repeat the mayoral election in Istanbul. The council had previously rejected the AKP's request for a full recount of the votes. Erdoğan's party narrowly lost the election at the end of March to the candidate put forward by the CHP, and has accused the latter of election fraud. The debate in the media is as fierce as ever.
Turkey's status as pseudo-democracy confirmed?
The ruling party's tactics are a test for Turkish democracy, warns Birgün:
“If the opposition were to accept a rerun of the elections it would be proof of politicians' deliberately turning a blind eye and also their lack of principles regarding democratic and moral values! ... If the opposition victory in Istanbul - in spite of extreme pressure from the government and a process that was by no means fair - is not recognised, and if the decision is made to hold new elections, then there can be no denying that Turkey belongs in the category of totalitarian states that hold only pseudo-elections. Its current crisis will become even worse!”
Brazen intimidation on the part of the CHP
A CHP parliamentarian has called upon the YSK to make a legal decision rather then a political one, prompting criticism from the pro-government daily Star:
“This person's immunity must be revoked immediately and they must be held accountable in court. 'People will spit on you on the street': what does that mean? Such words are incomprehensible. Of course the respectable members of the YSK won't be intimidated by this threat. They won't let a few impudent individuals who can't keep their mouths shut influence their decision. But now the ruling of the Supreme Electoral Council will have a bitter aftertaste no matter what the outcome. If the YSK's ruling is to the CHP's liking, won't people start asking whether the council allowed itself to be intimidated?”
The last thing Turkey needs now
NRC Handelsblad senses more trouble ahead:
“The grim attempt to annul the election is leading to sweeping accusations within the AKP and mounting tensions between the AKP and the MHP, which helped Erdoğan achieve his parliamentary majority. This just shows what a heavy blow the loss of Istanbul was. Twenty-five years after Erdoğan became mayor, the financial and business capital is no longer in the hands of the Islamists. The secular opposition also won in the capital Ankara and other keys cities in the west of the country. ... Months of political and economic instability and perhaps even social unrest are the last thing Turkey needs now. ... But nonetheless Turkey is clearly headed for a turbulent phase.”