Turkey ruling party veterans criticise Istanbul vote re-run

Wednesday 08/05/2019
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during an opening ceremony in Bosnian Serb town of Banja Luka, May 7, 2016. (Reuters)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during an opening ceremony in Bosnian Serb town of Banja Luka, May 7, 2016. (Reuters)

Two former heavyweights of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party have criticised a decision to re-run the Istanbul mayoral election, expressing concern the decision would damage the state's reputation.

They have added their voices to a chorus of criticism from abroad.

Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday said the decision to annul the results of the March 31 election, which was won by the main opposition, "caused damage to one of our fundamental values."

"The biggest loss for political movements is not losing elections but the loss of moral superiority and social conscience," he wrote on Twitter.

The top election body on Monday ordered a replay of the Istanbul mayoral election. The shock victory of the main opposition in the election was a blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Abdullah Gul, former president and co-founder of the AKP, also criticised the ruling, saying it showed the party had not "made any headway" since past constitutional spats.

Both men have fallen out with Erdogan since their time in office and there have been persistent rumours over the years that they may set up their own parties.

Gul, who has lately kept his distance from daily politics, compared the situation to a 2007 ruling by the country's top court that prevented him from becoming president without a two-thirds majority in parliament.

"What I felt in 2007... that is what I felt yesterday when another high court, the Supreme Electoral Council, took its decision. It is a pity that we have not made any headway," he tweeted.

Before last year's presidential and general elections there was speculation that Gul would run against Erdogan, but he never did.

As well as protests from the country's opposition, a number of countries have expressed concern at the court's decision.

Germany Foreign Minister on Tuesday described the decision as "incomprehensible," and the European Union has asked for an explanation.

The replay of the Istanbul mayoral election is due to be held on June 23.

(AFP)