CHP slams YSK decision but rules out boycott of Istanbul re-run
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has vowed to re-win the Istanbul mayoral elections in the June re-run after harshly condemning the election watchdog for cancelling the victory of Ekrem İmamoğlu as the elected mayor of Istanbul. It called all on all “democrats of Turkey to unite to save Turkey’s democracy.”
“From now on, Ekrem İmamoğlu is not only the candidate of the Republican People’s Party, but of all 16 million residents of Istanbul. You will see, the conscientious people of Istanbul will re-write history on June 23,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told his parliamentary group at a weekly meeting on May 7.
Kılıçdaroğlu convened the party assembly of the CHP with the participation of İmamoğlu a day after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ruled for the cancellation of the Istanbul polls and set June 23 as the day for the re-run.
The party assembly announced the decision not to boycott the June 23 elections for Istanbul through a “communiqué for democracy and freedom.”
“There is no other example in our history in which the rule of law, justice, clean politics and economic stability have been sacrificed in the name of personal ambitions and fears of just one man,” read the communiqué.
This decision on the Istanbul elections has destroyed the fundamental principles of democracy, it stressed, vowing that the CHP, as the party of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, will struggle against the erosion of democracy.
Should a corruption be detected in the formation of the polling station councils, then the constitutional referendum in 2016 and presidential elections in 2018 should also be cancelled, the CHP said, calling on the YSK to annul the elections for Istanbul’s 39 districts.
Judges should be ashamed of decision, says Kılıçdaroğlu
Addressing parliament, Kılıçdaroğlu strongly lashed out at the seven judges of the 11-member YSK who voted in favor of the cancellation of the polls, calling them the members of a gang.
“Judges are not to be sold. They have to be ashamed of their decision. Since when was seizing the people’s rightful shares a part of a judge’s duty?” asked Kılıçdaroğlu. “All of you are guilty before history,” he said. “They have massacred justice. And they did it on the first day of Ramadan.”
The re-run for Istanbul is no longer merely about winning a new election, but is a matter of democracy and societal conscience, the CHP leader said. “I call on all the democrats of Turkey to serve their duty in the Istanbul elections. Our democracy is bleeding, we should heal it altogether.”
“In June, democracy will win and everything will be very good,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.