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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora