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A distant mirror

“Turkey officials order re-run of Istanbul election, voiding win for Erdogan opposition”, reports the Independent:

Turkish authorities on Monday ordered a redo of an election won by an opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party, snatching away a major victory from the country’s opposition.

Under heavy pressure by Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) Turkey’s High Election Commission (YSK), which is described as packed with the president’s loyalists, cancelled the results of 31 March Istanbul mayoral elections narrowly won by Ekrem Imamoglu, a rising star in the Turkish opposition.

The news was reported by Turkey’s state-run Anatolia News Agency. It sent the Turkish lira, already battered by inflation and high borrowing costs, tumbling.

Mr Imamoglu appearing before a crowd of supporters struck a defiant tone.
“We won this election by the hard work of millions of people; they attempted to steal our rightfully won elections,” he said. “We are thirsty for justice. The decision-makers in this country may be in a state unawareness, error or even treason, but we will never give up.”

The Times has also reported on this story: “Election chiefs order re-run of Istanbul poll Erdogan lost”.

Imamoglu, the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate who won the March 31 poll by 14,000 votes, of the office and duties that he had already assumed.

In a statement to crowds waving Turkish flags in the city’s Beylikduzu district hours after the announcement was made, Mr Imamoglu, 48, urged his supporters to “stand up against what you know to be immoral”.

Street protests broke out across the middle-class, secular neighbourhoods of Istanbul where support for Mr Imamoglu and his party runs highest.

The Guardian has followed Mr Imamoglu’s rise closely in recent months, not surprising given that Mr Imamoglu is a liberal secularist standing up for democracy against the Islamist demagagogue Erdoğan. For instance this admiring profile of Mr Imamoglu by Bethan McKernan appeared last month: “Ekrem İmamoğlu: a unifying political force to take on Erdoğan”. As it usually is, the Guardian‘s straight reporting of the story that the election is to be run again is fair enough: “Outcry as Turkey orders rerun of Istanbul mayoral election”. But something tells me that the newspaper’s liberal, secularist columnists may not leap with their customary vigour to defend Mr Imamoglu’s hard-won democratic victory against those in power who would use their control of procedure to make him fight it again. On the other hand, perhaps I am too pessimistic. They are all devotedly pro-EU, after all, and the left-wing MEP who might be thought of as the European Union’s spokesperson on Turkish affairs has spoken clearly and well:

Kati Piri, the European parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said the decision “ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections” in the country.

8 comments to A distant mirror

  • Mr Ed

    Mrs May will soon come out in support of President Erdogan, noting how he fully respected the election result, and that he had liked it so much that he simply wanted another one, and that he fully intended to respect the outcome and deliver on the verdict of the people.

    However, she understood the concern of the voters and interested onlookers, who might have got the impression that the election was being stolen from under their noses, (far too quickly and openly) and pointed out that unlike Mr Erdogan’s situation, there was no need to re-run the 2016 Referendum as her Withdrawal Agreement fully implemented the result by leaving the UK paying money to the EU for less than nothing and still subject to a foreign court amongst other wonderful aspects, and since the UK cannot leave the Withdrawal Agreement without the EU’s consent, that meant that the UK could not be re-admitted to the EU without the EU’s consent, which is a further safeguard to ensure that the Referendum result is respected.

  • bob sykes

    I shall be very interested to see how Imamoglu fairs in the upcoming election. If there is an anti-Erdogan movement of some size, Imamoglu might win by an even larger margin.

    As to May and her shenanigans, she might as well dismiss the original referendum out of hand and go back to business as usual. Britain is already a police state, so ignoring referenda is merely business as usual.

  • At least he’s letting the people cast another ballot. In America we have pretty much perfected the method of simply recounting the originals until the correct result is obtained.

  • Simon Jester

    “Kati Piri”? Seriously?

  • Paul Marks

    Turkey contains many good people – but the Islamists now have the POWER.

    Western governments who actually (at least at first) supported the Islamist government (and its purge of the military and other institutions) have a lot to answer for.

  • Ferox

    As always: participatory democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, all the freedoms we claim to cherish, are fruits of the tree of force – and they can only be enjoyed by those who are both willing and able to employ force in their defence.

    You cannot be free while you are under the physical control of your enemy.

  • Aetius

    Ferox’s comment is right on the money. QOTD?

  • Erdogan is obviously preparing Turkey for EU membership. Turks must become accustomed to rerunning votes that do not get the answer the elites judge correct, just as students must resit exams they fail to pass as judged by the examiners. It’s the EU way.