Deposed Istanbul mayor blasts ‘lies’ used to annul election

Turkey’s deposed mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, delivers a speech during his repeated political campaign coordination meeting on Wednesday in Istanbul. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2019
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Deposed Istanbul mayor blasts ‘lies’ used to annul election

ISTANBUL: Istanbul’s deposed mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Wednesday that no one believed the “lies” used to overturn his recent election and called on voters to “correct this great shame” in next month’s re-run.

“Nobody believes their claims,” Imamoglu said at a meeting in Istanbul to launch his re-election campaign.

He accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party of peddling “lies” and “excuses” to overturn his narrow victory in the mayoral election in March.

“When I look at their facial expressions, I see that they themselves do not believe them either,” Imamoglu said. The election board earlier this month accepted the ruling party’s allegations of “irregularities” and called a re-run of the vote for June 23.

Imamoglu’s victory for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was the first time Erdogan’s party and its predecessors had lost control of the metropolis in 25 years.

Analysts say the government is reluctant to cede control of Turkey’s biggest city, which provides its mayor with significant resources for patronage as well as a high-profile platform.

“We will show the whole of Turkey on June 23 that there is no way out other than democracy and the ballot box,” Imamoglu said.

“Come and let’s correct this great shame and unfairness all together.”

Imamoglu said his campaign would focus on reversing extravagant spending in the city’s finances which he said he discovered during his brief 18-day stint as mayor.

“The resources of Istanbul municipality are being plundered ... Istanbul municipality is not the property of a handful of people,” he said.

The opposition candidate also accused the ruling party of copying his proposals, including reduced water bills and discounted student transport, saying it was like a schoolboy copying his homework.

But he sought to maintain a positive message, in line with his efforts to bring unity to Turkey’s fiercely partisan politics.

“We will embrace everyone ... Everyone is a patriot ... You will see at the end of this process we will love each other more.”

The election board was due to release its full explanation for canceling the results of the first election.

It did not annul the votes for the city council that were cast at the same time, and where the majority of seats went to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party.


Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

Updated 23 min 11 sec ago
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Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

  • Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said the UN is trying to politicize a natural death
  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the death of Morsi

CAIRO: Egypt accused the United Nations on Wednesday of seeking to “politicize” the death of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi by calling for an “independent inquiry.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said he condemned “in the strongest terms” the call by the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, for an independent investigation into Morsi’s death during a court hearing on Monday.

Hafez said it was a “deliberate attempt to politicize a case of natural death.”

Colville called Tuesday for a probe into whether the conditions Morsi faced during his nearly six years in custody had contributed to his death.

“Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” he said.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family,” Colville added.

He said the investigation must “encompass all aspects of the authorities’ treatment of Mr. Morsi to examine whether the conditions of his detention had an impact on his death.”

Morsi was toppled by then army chief, now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in 2013 after a single divisive year in power. He was later charged with an array of offenses including espionage.

Since his ouster, authorities have waged an ongoing crackdown on dissent of all kinds that has seen thousands of Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned Morsi’s detention conditions, particularly inadequate treatment for his diabetes and liver disease, could trigger “premature death.”