Istanbul’s elected mayor-elect Ekrem Imamoglu has told the BBC in an interview that he has not ruled out the idea of being Turkey’s next president.
The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has according to unofficial results won the race for the Turkish commercial capital’s mayorship.
According to the initial 31 March election results, Imamoglu took the lead in Istanbul but he has not been officially recognized as mayor yet as his rival the AK Party (AKP), has appealed the election results before the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK).
Despite indications that Imamoglu could be the new mayor of Istanbul according to YSK results, AKP has been putting up victory posters across Istanbul with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and AKP’s mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim thanking Istanbul for the win.
Imamoglu told BBC that he considers this “impolite” behavior.”
“We have the results from the electoral board, and we know who is in the lead,” said Imamoglu.
Erdogan’s AKP submitted objections to election results in all districts of Istanbul, claiming the results had been impacted by invalid votes and voting irregularities.
Imamoglu disagrees with AKP calling the invalid votes “the biggest stain in Turkish democratic history.”
“Up until yesterday, the government and the ruling party were claiming that Turkey had the most credible voting system and they were giving it the highest praise. One million people were on duty at polling stations that night,” BBC quoted Imamoglu as saying.
“If there was any suspicious activity, they would record it and make a written report – that’s the official procedure hereNow the only explanation I have is that they are making excuses for their failure.”
In response to BBC’s question on whether the March 31 local election was the beginning of the end of Erdogan’s hold on power, Imamoglu commented that everything – parties, governments, life itself – has an end.
“Erdogan has finished his 17th year in power. There are problems and things we don’t like, but it’s a political success. Of course, there will be an end to it one day,” said Imamoglu.
BBC asked Imamoglu whether he envisages himself as the next president of Turkey.
“God knows,” Imamoglu said with a chuckle.