Egypt's FM heads to Congo Today to attend PRECOP27 conference    King Charles III won't attend COP27 in Egypt, following PM Truss advice    Egypt's domestic population records 104 million – CAPMAS    European markets close higher as Stoxx600 records worst month since June    Swedish coastguard says: Fourth leak discovered on Nord Stream pipelines    U.S. stocks end September mixed    Egyptian gecko invades Israel    Egypt welcomes back Russian flights on 1st October    Egypt launches 200 Years of Continuing Science tourism campaign    Egypt, UAE partner on sustainable waste management in Sharm el-Sheikh ahead of COP27    QNB Group names TikToker Khaby Lame official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 brand ambassador    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Triumphant and Intimidating
Published in Albawaba on 01 - 04 - 2015

Despite accusations of fraud and irregularities during the mayoral elections in Turkey, the difference between Erdogan's ruling AKP and opposition parties is not in the single.
"This is the wedding day of the new Turkey," Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told thousands of supporters celebrating early results that indicated his party claiming more than 43 percent of national vote in the March 30 local elections.
"Today is the victory day of the new Turkey, 77 million united and together as brothers."
The Justice and development Party (AKP) maintained its grip over the two major cities Istanbul and Ankara. In Istanbul, the AKP won over the main opposition Republican People's Party with more than 500,000 votes, allowing the incumbent AKP mayor Kadir Topbas to hold the mayoral office for a third term.
Ankara's race, on the other hand, proved to be one of the most intriguing races in the city's history. Earlier in the election day, with less than 20 percent counted votes, both CHP and AKP runners announced that they had won.
Later, the AKP's incumbent mayor seemed to be wining by a big margin over the CHP's candidate, however, the opening of ballot boxes that were in CHP's stronghold after midnight seemed to bring the CHP closer to a victory. Yet at the break of dawn the AKP maintained a slight lead after a controversial recount of votes in a well-known AKP stronghold in the city.
Many questioned the reason why ballot boxes from CHP's strongholds in Ankara, as well as other cities, were left for late night counting. Observers argue that it was a tactic to show an AKP lead that would disappoint observers and pushing them to leave without counting the remaining ballot boxes.
Angry supporters of the AKP were reportedly at the polling stations where ballot boxes from CHP's strongholds in Ankara were being counted in an attempt to block the counting process. However, supporters from the CHP, as well as the other opposition Nationalist Movement Party MHP, rushed to those stations to protect the ballot boxes and make sure they get counted and delivered.
Ankara-based photojournalist, Piero Castellano, gave Islamist Gate an account of what happened.
"[A] crowd of AKP supporters, allegedly guided by Gökçek's [AKP incumbent mayor] son Osman, gathered out of the school where votes were being counted, soon confronted by MHP and CHP supporters, both groups claiming ballot boxes were moved out of the school to avoid counting. Counting stopped until 5 a.m. The YSK websites went down. Gökçek had a meeting with Minister of Justice, then appeared with him and released a statement claiming victory, saying only 62 ballot boxes left to be counted. When counting resumed, in many ballot boxes there was not one single vote for CHP, a bizarre fact in a CHP stronghold."
CHP Ankara mayoral candidate, Mansur Yavas, announced on March 31 that his party would appeal as soon as results became official.
Several other allegations of misconduct were raised as counting started. Reports of electricity cuts throughout the day in different cities and provinces during the counting process raised many eyebrows.
Others accused the AKP of sending their "bullies" to intimidate observers. In several cities across Turkey, observers and volunteers were up until early hours of morning finishing up counting and keeping an eye on fairness of delivery.
However, many agree that despite those irregularities, the AKP has managed to win over the main opposition party CHP, and other parties, by an almost 20 percent margin. The AKP claimed a national average of 43 percent, while CHP was pushing a 28 percent average.
"Those claims could have changed the result in some cities, but let's face the truth: The difference between the AKP and others is not in the single digits," Murat Yetkin said in his piece for the Hurriyet Daily News on March 31.
Thus observers see the AKP's win in the local elections, dubbed as a vote of confidence for AKP by Erdogan, as a clear proof that last June's nationwide Gezi protests, the corruption scandal, the incriminating leaked recordings and the crackdown on social media, by banning twitter and YouTube, played little or no part in those elections.
"The AKP's victory Sunday reinforced to the West what was already known: the secular opposition in Turkey lacks organization, charisma and popularity," Jonathon Schanzer, the American scholar in Middle East studies, told Islamist Gate. "Mr Erdogan proved to the West that his base - the Anatolian heartland and the Islamists - has not wavered, despite the massive corruption charges hanging over his government."
Schanzer added that due to this victory, the west would have less leverage for pressuring Erdogan and his government to implement further needed-reforms.
During the early victory speech from the balcony of the AKP's election bureau, Erdogan, with his family members by his side, vowed to fight back his enemies who attempted a coup.
"They are worse than assassins [of the Middle Ages]. They are beyond them," he said. "Those who managed could flee. More can flee tomorrow. I have filed criminal complaints about some of them; I said they could also flee. As I have said, from now on, we'll walk into their dens. They will pay for this."
Erdogan's words are seen as an indication of further crackdown on the Gulen Movement followers within the state, led by the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen whom Erdogan is accusing of staging the corruption investigation and the scandalous leaks.
Since the first arrests of sons of ministers and famous businessmen back in December, thousands of police chiefs and officers, judges and prosecutors, suspected to be Gulen sympathizers, have been dismissed or reassigned.
Two more elections are to follow with the first-ever presidential elections in August, followed by the parliamentary elections in June of next year. Erdogan hinted in his victory speech on March 30 that he would pursue the presidency.
What happens in the next round of elections? It's tough to predict, Schanzer said, the Gulen movement does not appear to be backing down.
"I expect more leaks and more damage to Erdogan's image. In response, I expect more crackdowns by Erdogan on the media and the opposition. Whether this helps him or hurts him in the next round is anyone's guess," He added.


Clic here to read the story from its source.