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ANKARA,— Europe’s human rights watchdog is urging Turkey to respect voters’ decisions after electoral authorities blocked some newly elected district mayors from taking office despite winning local elections on March 31.
The Council of Europe on Friday also urged Turkey to confirm the final results of the vote in Istanbul, where the opposition candidate apparently has won a tight race after a recount.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party has refused to concede defeat and is preparing to appeal for a rerun of that vote, citing irregularities.
Anders Knape, a senior official at the Council of Europe, says “the implementation of the will of the voters has absolute priority in democratic systems.”
In a controversial decision, Turkey’s electoral board has refused to reappoint mayors fired from government positions after a failed coup in 2016.
Turkey’s main Kurdish party on Thursday hit out at electoral authorities for blocking some of its successful candidates from taking office after a March 31 local vote.
The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on Wednesday ordered that individuals sacked by an emergency decree during purges after a 2016 failed coup could not take up their posts despite being elected, DHA news agency reported.
The candidate who came second would be able to serve in the post instead, DHA said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often accused the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of ties with PKK Kurdish militants, a charge the party denies.
The HDP said the YSK decision affects many candidates who had already been authorised to stand in the ballot by the same electoral council.
“This step taken by the YSK is part of a deliberate political conspiracy, nothing else” by the ruling AKP and its coalition nationalist MHP partner, HDP spokesman Saruhan Oluc told reporters in Ankara.
The HDP cannot challenge the YSK’s move or even take the council to court, Oluc said, but urged the YSK to reverse the decision.
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