Recount continues in Istanbul, new appeal for Ankara
Highly-contested Turkish local elections in Turkey’s largest cities Istanbul and Ankara remained unsolved since Sunday March 31 as recounts continue, with the government claiming the process showed an increase in the votes for its candidate, while the main opposition said the ballot reviews still maintained its candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu’s victory.
“The process is still ongoing. The recount of the invalid votes in 11 districts is over. The difference [between İmamoğlu and Binali Yıldırım] is 19,552,” İmamoğlu told a press conference in the late afternoon in Istanbul.
The recount of all votes in three districts is still underway, he said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) issued an appeal to the provincial bodies of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) for a recount of invalid votes in some districts of Istanbul and the recount of all votes in all districts, claiming there were irregularities when registering and counting the votes.
The vote difference between the AKP’s Yıldırım and the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İmamoğlu was only around 20,000.
The recount processes of invalid votes in the districts of Başakşehir, Bayrampaşa, Bakırköy, Beykoz, Büyükçekmece, Adalar, Eyüpsultan, Fatih, Ümraniye, Sarıyer and Şile were completed, although it continued in Çekmeköy, Bağcılar, Tuzla, Esenler and Esenyurt. The process for the recount of all votes was still underway late afternoon on April 4 in the districts of Kartal, Silivri and Çatalca.
İmamoğlu said that the vote recounting will show that the difference in votes between him and his rival will remain the same.
Criticizing AKP officials for creating misperceptions about the recounting process after AKP deputy leader Ali İhsan Yavuz suggested Yıldırım’s votes increased by 11,000, İmamoğlu said: “Likewise our votes increased by more than 3,500. And that’s why the difference is now less than 20,000. They are trying to change the perception.”
He repeated his calls for a speedy completion of the appeal process, initiated by the AKP, so that he can start serving the people of Istanbul already.
Yavuz, meanwhile, said as a result of the recount more than 11,000 votes were detected to not have been registered for Yıldırım, adding that more was to come.
“Only a few of these irregularities has been fixed so far. It’s possible that we’ll see more changes in the figures. We have only one reason in doing so: We want a full reflection of the people’s will to the election results in Istanbul,” Yavuz stated.
He also confirmed that the difference between the two contestants was less than 19,000 votes.
In Ankara, the YSK concluded the first-degree appeal process and announced there was no change in the initial results that show CHP’s Mansur Yavaş winning the capital city against the AKP’s Mehmet Özhaseki with around a 125,000 difference.
But the AKP has decided to take the results to the YSK’s provincial branch in Ankara for a higher-degree appeal. The AKP’s application for the recount of votes in districts was not approved by the YSK on the grounds that it won’t bring about a change to the results.
AKP deputy leader Fatih Şahin said his party will carry the results from 25 districts to a higher appeal mechanism. “We will of course accept the results,” Şahin said.