Istanbul revote decision ‘important step for democracy’

ANKARA (AA): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called the country’s top election body’s decision for a do-over election in Istanbul an “important step in strengthening Turkey’s democracy”.

“We see this decision of the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK), which will remove the shadow over Istanbul elections, an important step in strengthening Turkey’s democracy,” Erdogan said during his address to lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at the parliament group meeting in the capital Ankara.

His remarks came a day after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced that a do-over election in Istanbul will be held on June 23.

The council members accepted the AK Party’s objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favor and four against.

The YSK said that the decision was taken as some ballot committee members who served during the elections were not civil servants as required by law.

“There is no such thing that AK Party does not accept the result that comes out from the ballot box,” Erdogan said.

“We sincerely believe organized corruption, utter lawlessness and irregularity occurred in the Istanbul elections,” he added.

Later on, Erdogan responded to the journalists’ questions in the parliament.

Erdogan said that Binali Yildirim will run as People’s Alliance’s mayoral candidate in the do-over elections in Istanbul and that Istanbul’s governor Ali Yerlikaya will perform mayoral duties until the revote on June 23.

The Turkish president said a new “resolution process” was out of question in Turkey.

In early 2013, under then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish government launched an initiative publicly known as the resolution process to end the decades-old conflict with the PKK, whose terrorist campaign has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people over 30 years.

The process stalled in 2015 after the murder of a number of police officers and soldiers, which the PKK claimed responsibility for.