Novelist Orhan Pamuk says rerun election period was one of Turkey's ugliest
Istanbul's rerun election period was one of the ugliest eras of Turkey's political scene, said Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk said in an interview with T-24 news site published on Thursday.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) challenged the results and appealed for annulation and rerun of the polls in the country's financial and cultural powerhouse after the opposition candidate won the elections on March 31. On May 6, the Supreme Election Council accepted the AKP's appeal and scheduled a new election in Istanbul on June 23.
"I would say that the period between 31 March election and 23 June election was one of the ugliest, the worst and the darkest periods of Turkey's political scene that I have ever encountered," Pamuk said.
The prominent novelist said the period was a "unique disgrace" thanks to the ruling party's arbitrariness, insolence and irregularities.
Democracy has been only presented as winning the ballot boxes by the AKP but freedom of thought, division of powers, independence of the judiciary and respect for the law, order and constitution are also necessary for democracy, Pamuk said.
"Repeating the elections in Istanbul was the attempt to dispose of the ballot boxes, which was deemed the only meaningful value (of democracy)," he added.
All of Turkey's opposition was not unified at the party level, however, they were unified at the supporter base since their rage against the government was larger than their resentment towards each other, according to Pamuk.
"Istanbul voters' rebuke the ones who deem us worthy of this disgrace gave hope not only to Istanbul but to all Turkey, all country," he added.
Ekrem İmamoğlu, the opposition’s Istanbul mayoral candidate won the local polls on March with 13,000 more votes ahead of the AKP candidate and former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. İmamoğlu declared victory in Istanbul for a second time on June 23, this time with a lead of more than 800,000 votes.