Erdoğan: Istanbul vote re-run is best step
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 7 welcomed an order to re-run the recent Istanbul election after complaints of corruption as the “best step” for the country.
“We see this decision as the best step that will strengthen our will to solve problems within the framework of democracy and law,” Erdoğan told a meeting of his party members in parliament.
Erdoğan’s comments come a day after the top election body canceled the March 31 vote that handed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu a narrow lead over the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan on May 7 talked of “organized crime” and “serious corruption” during the vote. “The documents we have presented are quite solid and based on concrete evidence which cannot be disputed,” he said.
“We sincerely believe there was organized corruption and irregularities.”
He said that if his government did not bring to account the “thieves” who stole the “national will” at the ballot box, “our people will demand an explanation from us.”
Erdoğan said that Binali Yıldırım 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.
With 16 million residents, Istanbul is Turkey’s economic engine and controls a major chunk of public spending.
The Turkish president also said on May 7 a new “resolution process” was out of question in Turkey.
In early 2013, under then-Prime Minister and current President Erdoğan, the Turkish government launched an initiative publicly known as the resolution process to end the decades-old conflict with the PKK.
The process stalled in 2015. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.