Turkey's Erdoğan says thieves will not gain victory in Istanbul election rerun

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday said his ruling party would not let "thieves" claim victory in the Istanbul mayoral election rerun on June 23, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

"Now, we have another election one month later in our country, as you know. In any case, we will do what is needed at the ballot box. God willing, we will not leave this business to the thieves," Erdoğan said at the inauguration ceremony of a mosque in Istanbul's Eyüpsultan district.

"Let's end this job with a victory of democracy in our country," he said.

Turkey’s election council annulled the Istanbul election on May 6, after opposition mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu beat his ruling party rival by a slim margin in the original March 31 vote.

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) scheduled a rerun election on June 23 after accepting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s appeal alleging irregularities.

The AKP insists that the election was “stolen” in the March 31 mayoral election for Istanbul, the country's largest city and economic powerhouse.

Yet the YSK made no mention of vote theft in its initial ruling or in the 250-page reasoning of election rerun published on May 22.