Turkey’s president lambasted Western countries Monday over their reaction to the decision to rerun Istanbul’s mayoral election.
“If everyone mobilizes from Europe to America for the election of a mayor, it is probably our right to look for other things behind it,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a fast breaking meal, or iftar, held for members of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the capital, Ankara.
Erdogan questioned why Europe and America are so interested in Istanbul’s revote but not in canceled elections in Austria and Belgium or how U.S. President Donald Trump won the 2016 elections despite receiving 3 million fewer votes than his opponent.
He said votes cast during the March 31 polls in favor of the AK Party were stolen and the re-holding of the election would attract worldwide attention.
“They are all interested in Istanbul. Why?” he said.
“There are those who stole the votes on one side, while on the other side, there are those who protect the national will.”
Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose mayors, city council members and other officials for the next five years.
The results of Istanbul’s mayoral election were rejected by the AK Party over voting irregularities.
Last week, the Supreme Election Council accepted the party’s objection to the results and announced that a do-over election would be held on June 23.
In its decision, it said some polling officials and staff were not public servants as required by law.