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.


Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

Updated 18 October 2019

Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

  • European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq

BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials appeared cautious on Thursday after holding talks with European powers this week aimed at accelerating efforts to create a judicial framework that would enable terrorists being held in Syria to face trial in Iraq.

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials said.

Legal experts from Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have been in Baghdad this week for technical talks, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Iraq on Thursday to discuss the issue with the Iraqi government and Kurdish leaders. Speaking at a news conference with Le Drian, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hakim said his government’s priority was to bring back Iraqi fighters and their families “if possible.”

FASTFACT

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home.

“With regard (to) foreign fighters ... these countries must take necessary and appropriate measures to try these people,” he said. 

Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Daesh fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias which are under heavy attack by Turkish forces. If the militias redeploy prison guards to the front line, there is a risk of jail-breaks.

Europe does not want to try its Daesh nationals at home, fearing a public backlash, difficulties in collating evidence against them, and risks of renewed attacks from militants on European soil.