President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he believes that the people of Istanbul would do what is necessary in the rerun of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality elections on June 23, after it was marred by irregularities on March 31.
Speaking at an iftar program with young people at Istanbul's Dolmabahçe Palace Saturday, Erdoğan called on all political parties to respect the Supreme Election Council's (YSK) decision on the do-over election and abstain from using harsh words to criticize the council. He stressed that people will give the necessary answer in the polls.
Pointing out that objecting to results are a natural process in elections, Erdoğan said that the YSK, nevertheless, will have the final word on the objections and using vile language against the council is unnecessary.
"The vote difference between the candidates decreased from about 29,000 to 13,000. If there is such a decrease, it means that votes were stolen," Erdoğan said.
After the March 31 local elections in Istanbul, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) filed an extraordinary objection with the YSK, which later decided to renew the elections for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. However, the CHP responded harshly to the decision. Incumbent chairman of the party Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu described the YSK's decision to rerun the municipal elections in Istanbul as a "plot" against democracy.
Stressing that the 1963 elections were also annulled during the rule of the CHP, Erdoğan underlined that the AK Party has respected the decision of the Council as regard to Büyükçekmece and Maltepe.
Noting that such irregularities will not be repeated in the next elections, Erdoğan said that this time, every political party could access the lists of members of balloting committees from the YSK. Underlining the importance of Istanbul as a province, Erdoğan said he has
been serving this exceptional city since 1994 when he was elected city mayor.
Commenting on the transportation system problem in Istanbul, Erdoğan underscored that AK Party's candidate Binali Yıldırım is cut out to address these issues due to his comprehensive experience as a minister of transportation.
Touching upon the alleged polarization in society, Erdoğan noted that he is the president of all citizens living in the country regardless of their ethnicity, religion or appearance. He added that in the era of the AK Party, Kurdish people had the opportunity to speak their language freely and place signboards in the Kurdish language.
Following the meeting, Erdoğan took a selfie with the youth and shared it on his social media account.