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Turkish Foreign Ministry calls on US to respect decision on İstanbul vote

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry has asked the United States to respect a recent decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to hold a new mayoral election in İstanbul.

In a controversial decision on Monday, the YSK decided to re-run the mayoral election in İstanbul, which had been won on March 31 by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu.

The YSK announced its 7-4 decision due to allegations of electoral fraud and irregularities after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the race in İstanbul by a narrow margin.

The YSK attracted widespread criticism from inside and outside Turkey for its decision, with many calling it a “civilian coup.”

On Wednesday US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus issued a statement on the new election, saying that “we, like other friends of Turkey, take note of this extraordinary decision.”

“Turkey has a long, proud democratic tradition. We urge Turkish authorities to carry out this election in keeping with its laws, and in a manner that is consistent with its OSCE commitments, its status as a NATO ally, and its aspirations for membership in the European Union,” the statement said.

A statement posted on the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s website on Thursday said the reason for the decision to re-run the municipal election in İstanbul was because certain unlawful elements in the election held on March 31, 2019 were identified and that it was not related to the election results.

“Everyone should respect this decision taken by the Supreme Election Council, whose authority to administer and supervise elections is enshrined in our Constitution and whose members are elected out of the judges of the high courts,” the statement said, adding that it should be kept in mind that similar processes have taken place in the US and other countries and were resolved in accordance with democratic principles.

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