AKP’s Istanbul candidate OKs joint TV interview with CHP candidate

AKP’s Istanbul candidate OKs joint TV interview with CHP candidate

AKP’s Istanbul candidate OKs joint TV interview with CHP candidate

Binali Yıldırım, Istanbul mayoral candidate for the Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), says he is amenable to a joint TV interview with the main opposition candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu.

“We said that in principle is we are OK for joint broadcast. In fact, our deputy party chair in charge of this campaign will contact friends in the CHP (Republican People’s Party) and prepare the infrastructure for this,” Yıldırım said during a televised interview on June 3.

Elaborating on the re-run of March 31 local elections, Yıldırım said some voters were confused about the do-over elections during the 10 days following the Supreme Election Council decision.

“But we have seen the doubt disappeared as he explained the matter. It’s not on the street’s agenda. Now, it’s not on the agenda of the [people] on the street. They expect [to hear] about what the candidates will do, what are their promises,” he said.

Yıldırım noted that he does not rely on surveys because he believes they are being used for manipulation.

The AKP candidate recalled that renewal of the elections is uncommon in Turkey. The last one occurred in 1963. Yıldırım said at that time, the losing candidate was able to win the official certificate after the renewal of that election.

“Since then, there has been tremendous development in Turkish democracy,” he said, noting that the March 31 elections were “a renewed” election whose “winner and loser cannot be identified”.

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

But election authorities canceled the result of the Istanbul mayoral race after the AKP and its electoral partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), appealed, citing irregularities and violations of Turkish election law.

The election board decided on June 23 to re-do polls for the Istanbul mayoral race.