* Photograph: Anadolu Agency
President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the "Traditional Fast-Breaking Meal" at Taksim Square in İstanbul yesterday (May 12).
Speaking about the İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoral Elections to be repeated on June 23, Erdoğan said, "If there is something obstructing the elections or their rerun if needs be, then, democracy is in danger there."
In his speech, Erdoğan also addressed the artists who acted in solidarity with Ekrem İmamoğlu, Republican People's Party's (CHP) İstanbul Metropolitan Mayor candidate whose certificate of election has been annulled.
Erdoğan said, "First, you came to us to request a legal regulation on cinema, then, you again came to thank us for the regulation that we introduced. But, afterwards, you are applauding these people. Artists speak with their art, they do not bootlick flatter of that kind."
Erdoğan also made the following remarks in his speech:
"What our nation, what İstanbul needs is not the vandalism, violence, terror and provocative actions displayed in Taksim in the past, but the climate of tolerance and friendship that helps people of every belief, disposition and background to gather around the same table.
"I am sure you are watching at your TVs that the terrorist heads are saying with whom you are supposed to be, they are saying that you must be on the side of CHP candidate. They give instructions from the mountain.
"In what part of the world do you see that people object to the rerun of elections to purify them from doubts, which is the most important operative tool of democracy? In Belgium, they have just decided to repeat local elections in a city, it just happened yesterday.
"We will see whether campaigns will be launched against this decision. We will see whether they will threaten the judicial authorities by reading out their names one by one or whether these people will be subjected to an assassination of reputation by being labelled as a gang.
"The only country where politicians are afraid of the ballot box is our homeland. In fact, if elections are held in a place and if these elections are rerun if needs be, then, it means that democracy operates there.
"Sooner or later, everyone will accept the fact that Turkey is a state of law which is run with democracy." (TP/SD)