Turkey slams West for double standard on Istanbul polls

ANKARA

Turkey slammed the West on Tuesday over its double standards in response to a do-over decision on Istanbul mayoral election.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who addressed at a joint news conference alongside his Kyrgyz counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov, said there were some do-over elections in the world history, exampling the 2016 Austrian presidential election.

“In 2016, the presidential election in Austria was cancelled and held again. Why was it cancelled? Once you look at its reason, it was quite similar to Istanbul polls [issues] as unauthorized persons counted the votes in ballot boxes,” Cavusoglu said in Ankara.

“Turkish law obviously says that people assigned at the balloting committee should be civil servants,” said Cavusoglu, adding that unauthorized people were charged at ballot boxes and counted the Istanbul ballots in the March 31 local polls.

On Monday, Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced that a do-over election in Istanbul will be held on June 23.

His remarks came after an international outcry against the the top electoral body’s decision as the EU criticized Turkey over the do-over of mayoral election.

“When the elections were held in Austria again with the same purposes, they would be democratic and transparent. Everyone respects the Austrian ruling about its do-over elections. But when the YSK in Turkey, a high judicial body, took a decision on the same grounds, it would be called unlawful and anti-democratic(?),” he said.

Turkey doesn’t give credit to this kind of “double standards and impositions”, Cavusoglu added.

In addition, Cavusoglu said that Turkey cares about EU officials’ remarks about Istanbul polls as they wish “free, fair and transparent election process”.

He added that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party wants the same, and that is why it appealed against the the March 31 election results.

“Ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process is essential to any democracy and is at the heart of the European Union’s relations with Turkey,” EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a joint statement on Monday.

“The Turkish Supreme Election Council decided to re-run elections in Istanbul following extraordinary appeals which contested the initially certified outcome of these elections. The justification for this far-reaching decision, taken in a highly politicized context, should be made available for public scrutiny without delay,” the joint statement read, adding that Istanbul election boards can do their works in independent, open and transparent ways.

The YSK accepted the AK Party’s objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favor and four against.

The mayoral certificate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ekrem Imamoglu was also cancelled by the YSK.

Imamoglu took oath as mayor of Istanbul last month, amid AK Party’s agitation over voting irregularities.

The YSK said the decision was based on the fact that some ballot committee members presiding over ballot boxes in the province during at the elections were not civil servants as required by law.

Source: AA