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."

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

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs