News / Europe

    Turkey's Main Opposition to Reject Election Result

    • Gursel Tekin (center), the deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) arrives at Cankaya Election Committee, a local ballot collection center, in Ankara, March 31, 2014.
    • Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) shout anti-government slogans outside the Cankaya Election Committee, a local ballot collection center in Ankara, March 31, 2014.
    • Riot police guard the entrance of the Cankaya Election Committee, a local ballot collection center, in Ankara, March 31, 2014.
    • Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine, greets supporters at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, March 30, 2014.
    • Gursel Tekin (center), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chairman, watches election results on TV with party members at CHP headquarters in Ankara, March 30, 2014.
    Turkey's Main Opposition to Reject Election Result
    VOA News
    Turkey's main opposition CHP party said on Monday it would appeal against municipal election results in the capital Ankara where it suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) on Sunday.

    The AKP won 44.8 percent of the vote in Ankara to the CHP's 43.9 percent, according to provisional results on Turkish television. Angry crowds gathered at CHP headquarters late on Sunday claiming fraud, as it became clear their candidate had failed to win one of the closest races in the nationwide polls.

    "Today we will be preparing our application for an appeal by comparing the minutes from the ballot boxes and data from the Supreme Electoral Council,'' the CHP's mayoral candidate for Ankara, Mansur Yavas, said on his Twitter account.

    A CHP official told Reuters an appeal would be lodged later on Monday or on Tuesday. A second official said the party would also appeal the result in the southern coastal city of Antalya, traditionally a CHP stronghold, which fell to the AKP.

    Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned his political foes they would "pay the price" for accusing him and his party of corruption.

    "You stood up for Turkey's ideals, for politics, for your party and your prime minister, " Erdogoan told thousands of supporters Sunday in Ankara as he claimed victory in local elections seen as a referendum on his rule. "We will enter the lair of our enemies. They will pay for what they have done." 

    The Erdogan warning came just days after his government blocked nationwide access to YouTube, after the video sharing website circulated what is thought to be an audio recording implicating senior officials in corruption.
     
    The audio is purported to be of Turkey's foreign minister discussing options with other senior officials for staging bogus attacks on Turkey from Syrian soil to create a pretext for war.

    "The prime minister has interpreted this as a blank check," Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Center said referring to the election results. " It will not only whitewash these allegations [of corruption], but he will also be able to continue exactly like before. It will be business as usual. No one expects YouTube and Twitter to be allowed again."
     
    Earlier this month, the Ankara government banned the micro-blogging service Twitter for circulating other audio files implicating the prime minister and his son in corruption. The blockages drew international condemnation.

    Highly polarized

    Analysts view the elections as highly polarized. 

    "They believe that this will help their political agenda by helping them to consolidate a segment of votes behind them -- so, in essence, to eliminate the middle ground and to create to two major poles," said Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Europe institute in Brussels. Hhe noted that the AK Party’s success is built on political polarization.

    Some observers say the opposition failed to provide an effective alternative, relying too heavily on the corruption allegations. 

    A power struggle between Erdogan and U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen dominated the election campaign. Erdogan accused the cleric of using a network of followers in the police and judiciary to fabricate graft smears in an effort to topple him.

    Emboldened by Sunday’s result, Erdogan is likely to run for president in August's election. But Carnegie Europe's Ulgen says despite the prime minister's election success, Turkey's deepening political polarization could make the country increasingly unstable.

    "It's making future agreement concessions and understanding and tolerance much more difficult to achieve," Ulgen said. "It is likely to have long-term consequences regarding the stability of the country."
     
    Syria

    The Sunni-dominated Erdogan government has supported elements of the Syrian opposition fighting to unseat the Iran-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.  Analysts say Turkey also is a key entry point for military supplies bound for rebels.
     
    On Sunday, Erdogan equated the leaks to attacks on Turkey.  He has linked them to former ally Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic cleric he says used a network of followers in Turkey's police force to concoct a corruption case against him.                                                                                                                                                                                         
     
    Eight people were killed Sunday in clashes as ballots were cast across the country.  Authorities say the violence occurred in two villages near Turkey's southeastern border with Syria. Another 13 people were reported wounded in the gunfire.
     
    Human rights groups and Turkey's NATO allies have widely condemned Erdogan for blocking access to the Internet.
     
    Sunday's polls were the first since nationwide anti-government protests last year that sparked weeks of clashes that left eight people dead and thousands wounded. 
     
    Fifty million people were expected to cast ballots.  But no early data was reported on voter turnout.

    Dorian Jones contributed to this report from Istanbul, some information provided by Reuters

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Doug from: Melbourne
    March 31, 2014 10:31 PM
    Hey Ozlam... That's a bad attempt at imitating an Ataturkist. It's Ozlem btw...

    by: Ozlam from: Turkey
    March 31, 2014 11:13 AM
    we have such a corrupt regime here. We all have heard the tapes... it is legitimate. we all know the scumbags. we want a change. we want our country back from the squalid Islamic agenda. why "west" will not help..?? what happened to "America" and the European "democracies" ?? why is everyone so silent..?? everyone knows what a sad corruption the Islamist party is, but no one will do anything to help Turkey - it feels as if God has cursed us since the "Gaza flotilla"... we betrayed His People, may God forgive us. .
    In Response

    by: Alex from: Washington, DC
    March 31, 2014 10:43 PM
    Ozlam from Turkey said: "why 'west' will not help..??"
    Answer: 'west' cannot vote in Turkey's election. You first need to understand what democracy means...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora