Opposition candidate urges electoral board to confirm win in Istanbul mayor race

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Opposition candidate urges electoral board to confirm win in Istanbul mayor race

Ekrem Imamoglu has urged Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to prevent the country from sliding into uncertainty.


People in Istanbul near the Ottoman-era Mecidiye mosque in Ortakoy square and the July 15th Martyrs bridge, formerly known as Bosporus Bridge (Emrah Gurel/AP)
People in Istanbul near the Ottoman-era Mecidiye mosque in Ortakoy square and the July 15th Martyrs bridge, formerly known as Bosporus Bridge (Emrah Gurel/AP)

The opposition’s candidate for mayor of Istanbul has urged Turkey’s electoral body to confirm his narrow victory in local elections and has asked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to act to prevent the country from sliding into uncertainty.

Preliminary results show Mr Erdogan’s ruling party lost its decades-old stronghold of Ankara in Sunday’s vote and in the tight race for Istanbul.

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Ekrem Imamoglu, the main Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP, candidate for Istanbul (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu spoke on Wednesday, a day after Mr Erdogan’s party appealed against the results in all of Istanbul’s 39 districts, claiming the vote was “stained”.

The supreme electoral board ruled in favour of a recount in eight of the districts.

Mr Imamoglu called on Mr Erdogan and his nationalist ally to stop a slip into “worrisome atmospheres” and to work with him to improve the economy and ensure a return to “normality”.

Preliminary results showed Mr Imamoglu narrowly beating his ruling party rival, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, by some 25,000 votes.

Ali Ihsan Yavuz, a ruling party deputy chairman, called Sunday’s election “one of the most stained in our democratic history”.

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Supporters of Ekrem Imamoglu (Emrah Gurel/AP)

That contrasted with statements from government officials who had insisted that the country’s electoral system is fair.

At news conference at his campaign headquarters, Mr Imamoglu called on Mr Erdogan and his nationalist ally to “contribute to the process to prevent the results in Istanbul, which are being watched by whole world, from dragging (Turkey) into worrisome atmospheres”.

“We are asking for justice,” he said.

Recalling previous government statements on Turkey’s elections being fair, he added: “What has happened that the elections are now all of a sudden the most stained in history?”

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The ruling party quickly responded, reproaching Mr Imamoglu for allegedly not respecting the electoral appeals process.

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Binali Yildirim (Emrah Gurel/AP)

“We have to accept the confirmed results,” said Mr Yavuz.

Mr Imamoglu meanwhile, held up a photograph from 1994, when Mr Erdogan was elected mayor of Istanbul, showing the opposition candidate participating in a celebration of his win.

“This is how it should be done,” he said.

Press Association

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