Erdogan's AKP challenges Istanbul results in Turkey election

People walk past barriers surrounding the Supreme Election council building, guarded by police officers, Tuesday April 2, 2019 in Istanbul. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2019

Erdogan's AKP challenges Istanbul results in Turkey election

  • Sunday's municipal vote delivered a setback to Erdogan after preliminary tallies showed the AKP lost the capital

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP on Tuesday appealed against the results in Istanbul after this weekend's elections citing what it called "excessive" irregularities.
Sunday's municipal vote delivered a setback to Erdogan after preliminary tallies showed the AKP lost the capital and the economic hub Istanbul after a decade and a half in power.
Erdogan's AKP and coalition partner won more than 50 percent of the votes nationwide, but defeat in two key cities would be a blow after Turkey slipped into recession for the first time in a decade.
The AKP appeal with electoral authorities, who have two days to decide whether it has any merit, may signal further challenges from the ruling party to opposition victories in the two key cities.
"We have filed our objections with the electoral authorities in all 39 districts," AKP's Istanbul district chief Bayram Senocak told reporters. "We have identified irregularities and falsifications."
He said the party had found an "excessive" difference between votes cast at ballot stations for their candidate and the data sent to electoral authorities.
Istanbul, the largest city in the country, was a key prize for Erdogan and he had fielded his former premier and loyalist Binali Yildirim as candidate for mayor.
But Istanbul was a tight race and both Yildirim and the opposition CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu claimed victory in the early hours of Monday.
Electoral authorities on Monday announced Imamoglu was ahead by 28,000 votes with nearly all ballot boxes tallied, prompting AKP officials to challenge to the result.
Imamoglu had 48.79 percent of the votes while Yildirim had 48.52 percent, Anadolu state news agency reported on Tuesday, citing preliminary results.
Imamoglu on Tuesday travelled to Ankara to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Musfafa Kemal Ataturk in a highly symbolic gesture Erdogan often does himself soon after his election wins.
"Had the other party won, I would have said 'congratulations Mr Binali Yildirim', which I do not say because I am the one who won," Imamoglu told reporters.
"They are behaving like a kid who has been deprived of his toy."
AKP party spokesman Omer Celik on Monday had said they had found discrepancies between reports from polling stations and vote counts in both Ankara and Istanbul.
Erdogan, himself a former Istanbul mayor, had campaigned hard in the city. But the ruling party may have been stung by the economy with Turkey in recession for the first time since 2009 and inflation in double digits.


Iran kicks off ground forces drill on coast of Gulf of Oman

Updated 19 January 2021

Iran kicks off ground forces drill on coast of Gulf of Oman

  • Commando units and airborne infantry were participating in the annual exercise along with air assets

TEHRAN: Iran’s military kicked off a ground forces drill on Tuesday along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, state TV reported, the latest in a series of snap exercises that the country is holding amid escalating tensions over its nuclear program and Washington’s pressure campaign against Tehran.
According to the report, commando units and airborne infantry were participating in the annual exercise, along with fighter jets, helicopters and military transport aircraft. Iran’s National Army chief Abdolrahim Mousavi was overseeing the drill.
Iran has recently stepped up military drills as part of an effort to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump pulled out of. Biden has said the US could rejoin the multinational accord meant to contain Iran’s nuclear program.
On Saturday, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill, launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target at a distance of some 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles) in the Indian Ocean, a day after the Guard’s aerospace division launched surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and drones against “hypothetical enemy bases” in the country’s vast central desert.
Last Thursday, Iran’s navy fired cruise missiles as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, under surveillance of what appeared to be a US nuclear submarine. Earlier last week, the Guard’s affiliated forces carried out a limited maneuver in the Arabian Gulf after a massive, drones-only drill across half of the country earlier in January.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased amid a series of incidents stemming from Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. In the final days of the Trump administration, Tehran seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, while the US sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region.
Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.
When the US then stepped up economic sanctions, Iran gradually abandoned the limits that the deal had imposed on its nuclear development.