Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ankara deputy Gamze Tascier has announced newly-elected mayor for the city Mansur Yavas has secured his mayoral office after votes in 11 districts of the capital were recounted due to the ruling AK Party (AKP)’s appeals.
“In Ankara, the vote margin between our municipal mayor Mansur Yavas and [AKP’s candidate] Mehmet Ozhaseki decreased by only 385 votes, after the recount of invalid votes objected by AKP,” Tascier tweeted around 1 am local time on Thursday, using the hashtag #MazbatamiziVerin (Give our Mandate).
Opposition candidate Yavas ended the 25-year rule of Turkey’s capital Ankara by Islamist parties. He won 50.9 percent of the votes against AKP’s Ozhaseki who was able to receive 47 percent of the vote.
The governing AKP submitted objections to local election results in all districts of Istanbul and 25 districts of Ankara, saying the results had been impacted by invalid votes and voting irregularities.
Recounts were planned in 11 Ankara districts due to AKP appeals, state-run Anadolu agency (AA) said.
The agency announced “breaking news” on Wednesday, saying there will be a recount of the votes in 11 districts of Ankara. Immediately after the news was reported, CHP’s deputy chairman Muharrem Erkek claimed it was fabricated and stated that vote recounts are already over in most of those districts.
“What’s the point in reporting this as the latest development?” Erkek tweeted, accusing AA of manipulating facts.
AA also said the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) decided to recount invalid votes in 15 districts and all votes in three other districts of Istanbul as a result of the appeals. The AKP had said earlier there were more than 300,000 invalid votes.
While the recount of the votes in the capital has ended, the process in Istanbul, Turkey’s commercial hub, is still ongoing.
AKP’s Binali Yildirim and CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu both said on Monday that Imamoglu was about 25,000 votes ahead in Istanbul, a relatively slim margin in a city of some 15 million people.
AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz on Wednesday said that the vote difference between Imamoglu and Yildirim has fallen to below 20,000 votes after the recount process started in Istanbul.
Commenting on the recount of votes in Istanbul, Imamoglu said on Wednesday that he does not consider the possibility of canceling of the elections.
“The number of valid votes [on both sides] are very close. At the end of the day, the figures are not effective enough to change the result,” Imamoglu said.
Yavuz was criticized on social media after making two contradicting statements regarding the security of elections held in Turkey.
Before the elections, Yavuz was quoted by Turkish media as saying that the ‘election mechanism of Turkey is very reliable’ and that ‘YSK is one of the most reliable institutions in Turkey.’
But after AKP lost Istanbul in the elections he said: “I guess I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said this [local] election are one of the most dubious ones in the history of our democracy.”
CHP spokesman, Faik Oztrak, reacted to election comments of Yavuz, saying that his remarks increased their worries about the security of elections, the T24 news portal reported on Wednesday.
“It’s tragicomic of the ruling party’s deputy chairman to say ‘elections are dubious,’ when they [the AKP] have the police and the judiciary under their control,” Oztrak also said.
Defeats in Ankara and Istanbul come as a major setback for President Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.
A former mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan had campaigned relentlessly before the local election, describing it as a “matter of survival” for the country.