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İstanbul election fraud suspects accused of Gülen ties: state-run news agency

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Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) has reported that an investigation into local election fraud in İstanbul has found 43 suspects have alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

AA reported Sunday that 41 of the people prosecutors investigated had deposited money in private Bank Asya and two allegedly used an encrypted messaging application called ByLock.

Turkish courts have treated both as evidence of links to Turkish-Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement.

The Anatolia Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched 32 investigations into alleged election irregularities at polling stations in İstanbul’s Maltepe, Kadıköy and Ataköy districts as a part of which more than 100 polling station staff members have been summoned to testify as suspects, Turkish media reported last week.

The polling station officials are being questioned over allegations of violations of election law and abuse of power in counting votes and entering dates.

Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the election in İstanbul against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate, Binali Yıldırım; however, İmamoğlu was not given the mandate to govern until April 17 because the AKP objected to the election results, asking for a recount of votes in many İstanbul districts.

Even after İmamoğlu officially began his tenure, the AKP was still trying to secure cancellation of the İstanbul vote through an application to the country’s top election authority, the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which is expected to make a decision today.

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