Turkish prosecutors investigate Istanbul election tampering

Winner of the Istanbul Municipality Akram Emamoglu during the elections

Turkish prosecutors launched 32 investigations into allegations of irregularities in Istanbul’s local elections on March 31 and summoned more than 100 polling station officials for questioning as suspects, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Thursday.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) has called for the annulment and re-run of the Istanbul vote, a prospect that has kept Turkish financial markets on edge. Initial results and some recounts of the nationwide local elections showed that AKP lost control of Istanbul and the capital Ankara.

The main opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), in alliance with smaller parties, won the mayoralty in both cities and ended a quarter century of control by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors, a blow to Erdogan.

The investigations focused on Istanbul’s Maltepe, Kadikoy and Atasehir districts, Anadolu said. The suspects were being probed over allegations of violations of election law and abuse of position in counting votes and entering dates, it said. The Istanbul prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

The High Election Board is yet to rule on the AKP challenge to the Istanbul election result. A month after the elections, AKP officials are questioning their alliance with the smaller Nationalist Movement Party, which some blame for one of its biggest electoral setbacks.