Çavuşoğlu slams West for ‘double standard on Istanbul polls’
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey slammed the West on May 7 over “its double standards” in response to a do-over decision on Istanbul mayoral election.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who addressed at a joint news conference alongside his Kyrgyz counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov, said there were some do-over elections in the world history, exampling the 2016 Austrian presidential election.
“In 2016, the presidential election in Austria was canceled and held again. Why was it canceled? Once you look at its reason, it was quite similar to Istanbul polls [issues] as unauthorized persons counted the votes in ballot boxes,” Çavuşoğlu said in Ankara.
“Turkish law obviously says that people assigned at the balloting committee should be civil servants,” said Çavuşoğlu, adding that unauthorized people were charged at ballot boxes and counted the Istanbul ballots in the March 31 local polls.
On May 6, Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced that a do-over election in Istanbul will be held on June 23.
Çavuşoğlu remarks came after an international outcry against the top electoral body’s decision as the EU criticized Turkey over the do-over of mayoral election.
“When the elections were held in Austria again with the same purposes, they would be democratic and transparent. Everyone respects the Austrian ruling about its do-over elections. But when the YSK in Turkey, a high judicial body, took a decision on the same grounds, it would be called unlawful and anti-democratic(?),” he said.
Turkey doesn’t give credit to this kind of “double standards and impositions,” Çavuşoğlu said.
In addition, the minister said that Turkey cares about EU officials’ remarks about Istanbul polls as they wish “free, fair and transparent election process”.
“Ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process is essential to any democracy and is at the heart of the European Union’s relations with Turkey,” EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a joint statement on May 6.
“The Turkish Supreme Election Council decided to re-run elections in Istanbul following extraordinary appeals which contested the initially certified outcome of these elections. The justification for this far-reaching decision, taken in a highly politicized context, should be made available for public scrutiny without delay,” the joint statement read.
US: Transparent elections in Turkey’s interest
The United States said on May 6 that a “healthy democracy” with transparent elections is in Turkey’s own interest.
The State Department, without directly criticizing the election body’s decision, said that free elections were “a fundamental pillar in any democracy.”
“We expect a free, fair and transparent electoral process to be fully respected by all involved so that the will of the voters is acknowledged in the results,” a State Department spokeswoman said.
“A healthy Turkish democracy is in the interest of Turkey and its partners, including the United States, and helps ensure a stable, prosperous and reliable ally,” she said.
The YSK accepted the AKP’s objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favor and four against.
The mayoral certificate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu was also canceled by the YSK.
İmamoğlu took oath as mayor of Istanbul last month.
The YSK said the decision was based on the fact that some ballot committee members presiding over ballot boxes in the province during at the elections were not civil servants as required by law.