Erdogan has accused the US, Europe

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the United States and Europe of “meddling” in Turkey’s internal affairs after its Western allies issued statements following his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s a challenge to local election results. reports citing Anadolu News Agency.

The Turkish leader and his AKP suffered an upset in mayoral elections last week after results showed that the ruling party lost the capital Ankara and was narrowly defeated in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city and economic hub.

The AKP then filed objections to the results with the country’s High Election Board and contested the slim opposition victory in Istanbul, alleging irregularities.

However, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino on Tuesday called on Ankara to accept the results after European Union spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic urged Turkey the day before to allow elected officials to “exercise their mandate freely.”

“America and Europe are... meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs,” Erdogan said on Friday, in his first direct remarks to reporters since Monday.

“Turkey gave a democracy lesson to the whole world,” he added, rejecting the statements and warning both the US and the EU to “know” their “place.”

Meanwhile, AKP spokesman Omer Celik lambasted Palladino for his statement on the Turkish elections.

“No foreign government, or any organ or statement from it, is a source of legitimacy for the election process and election results in Turkey,” Celik said at the party's headquarters in the capital.

Before the elections, Erdogan tried hard to promote his party’s candidates during numerous rallies across the country, describing the vote as a battle for the nation’s survival. However, voters, concerned with the soaring cost of living, double-digit inflation, and unemployment, went for the opposition in the country’s two biggest cities.

In Istanbul, the opposition’s Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly emerged victoriously.

However, Turkey’s High Election Board on Wednesday said that it would recount local election votes in Istanbul after the AKP demanded a recount.

On Friday, Imamoglu announced that he was still the winner by nearly 19,000 votes even after the recount.

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)’s candidate added that nearly 120,000 previously annulled votes had been recounted in 17 Istanbul districts, with 2,184 extra votes being allowed for the AKP's candidate, Binali Yildirim, and 785 for himself.

Imamoglu estimated that once the recounting ended, the final difference could finish between 18,000 to 20,000. He added that nearly 200,000 more votes still needed to be recounted. “It should be over by the end of the weekend.”

However, the AKP has said the recount would show its candidate won.

A defeat in Istanbul would be particularly sensitive for Erdogan who commenced his political career as mayor of the city. The AKP or its predecessors had held Istanbul and Ankara since 1994.

2019.04.06 / 11:27
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