AKP spokesman compares negative reports on Turkish government to Christchurch massacre

Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said “evil networks” propagating “black propaganda” against the Turkish government after last Sunday’s local elections were only different in scale to the gunman who killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand last month.

Çelik appeared on Tuesday evening to discuss the elections, in which the opposition made startling wins in major cities including Istanbul and Ankara, according to the Supreme Electoral Council’s as-yet unofficial preliminary count.

The biggest point of controversy centred on the Istanbul mayoral seat, which the YSK says was won by main opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu by over 27,000 votes. The AKP has disputed the results and demanded an investigation of votes discounted in the first count.

Çelik on Tuesday reserved his harshest words for unnamed foreign actors he said had tried to “trip up” Turkey in the aftermath of Sunday’s elections.

“We know them well from our foreign relations,” he said, before accusing these unnamed enemies of running a “black propaganda campaign” against the AKP by publishing news reports that described the ruling party’s performance in the election negatively.

“The only difference between these evil networks with their black propaganda and the murderer who carried out the attacks in New Zealand is in the dosage, the mindset behind them is the same,” Çelik said.

The AKP spokesman went on to defend his party’s legal right to challenge the results of the elections, and condemned implications that this meant the ruling party was preparing to snatch control of municipalities it had lost to the opposition.

“Everybody should remain calm. We will respect the process and the results,” he said.