Riot police and water cannons disperse Ankara election protesters

The opposition Republican People's Party is alleging election irregularities in the Ankara mayoral election, which it lost by a narrow margin to the ruling Justice and Development Party, and has appealed for a recount.

JC Finley

Discontent over the March 30 Ankara mayoral election prompted hundreds of Turkish citizens to protest in Ankara. On Tuesday, riot police used water canons against the protesters in an effort to disperse them.

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which lost to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) incumbent, alleges election irregularities, and sought the intervention of the District Elections Board.


The CHP candidate for mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavas, said, "We will not let any votes of the people of Ankara be wasted. We'll follow the votes given for us until the end." He noted that some 500 youth volunteers were helping with the examination of 12,000 ballot boxes to determine whether votes were incorrectly filed with other parties or not recorded at all.

If the District Elections Board recognizes the objections, the Provincial Election Board will review the appeal before it could move forward to the Supreme Electoral Board. A final ruling could come as late as April 9.

Incumbent Mayor Melih Gökçek, who believes his party won by a greater margin than the published election results, said, "CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is provoking and sending people onto the streets … They will start protests in Ankara and Istanbul ... They want to put pressure on the election boards. CHP is responsible for the incidents that will erupt in Ankara.”

On Tuesday, riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters gathered outside the Supreme Electoral Board building.

[Hurriyet Daily News]

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