Turkey called on all parties late Tuesday to refrain from taking any actions that could be seen as interfering in the country’s domestic affairs following weekend local elections.
“We urge all parties, including foreign governments, to respect the legal process and refrain from taking any steps that may be construed as meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s presidential communications director, said on Twitter in response to remarks by U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino.
“Free and fair elections are essential for any democracy. That means acceptance of legitimate election results, which is essential,” Palladino said at a press briefing.
“We expect nothing less from Turkey, which has a long, proud tradition in this respect,” he added.
Altun said Sunday’s elections took place in “an orderly and peaceful fashion”.
“We are confident that the electoral authorities will resolve all disputes swiftly, transparently and for good,” he stressed.
“Elections are the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy. The Turkish people have expressed their will through the ballot box for 70 years. The authorities have a responsibility to ensure that elections are free and fair.
“It is equally crucial that the vote count occurs according to the law. We are closely monitoring the situation, as multiple political parties have challenged the preliminary results due to alleged procedural errors and other irregularities,” he added.
“No country has the right to intervene in the election results of another country in a way that is far from law and democracy and to see itself as a source of legitimacy of the results,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.
“The source of legitimacy for the elections is the will of the nation,” he noted, adding it was the Supreme Election Council that will evaluate and reach a conclusion on the objection process.
“It is essential that the will of the voter is fully reflected in the ballot box results, and everyone should respect the legal and democratic struggle shown in this regard,” Aksoy said, stressing that Turkey is a state of democratic law and weekend local polls were carried out in a democratic and transparent environment.
“Anti-democratic approaches and habits can no way overshadow Turkey’s democratic maturity,” he said.
Aksoy also touched the 84 percent voter turnout in Sunday’s local elections and said the Turkish nation showed its commitment to democracy with this move.
“On the other hand, the preference of the Turkish people for stability and trust is registered with the results of the polls,” he added.
Earlier Tuesday, the AK Party officially challenged poll results in 39 districts in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
Bayram Senocak, the party’s Istanbul provincial head, said it had found “significant discrepancies” in the results.
In the Istanbul mayor’s race, Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with 48.79 percent of the votes, currently has a narrow lead over the AK Party’s Binali Yildirim, with 48.51 percent.
The AK Party also challenged the poll results in all 25 districts of the capital Ankara.
The party’s provincial head, Hakan Han Ozcan, said his party is also contesting irregularities in 3,217 ballot boxes.
Mansur Yavas, the CHP’s mayoral candidate in Ankara, is currently leading with 50.9 percent of votes, according to unofficial results, with the AK Party’s Mehmet Ozhaseki at 47.1 percent.
Millions of Turks cast their votes nationwide Sunday in elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials) and members of elder councils for the next five years.