by Marianna Lazarian

Monday, March 31, 17:58

The local elections in Turkey were rigged, turcologist Artak Shakaryan
said at today's press conference in Yerevan.

He thinks that these elections were a matter of life and death for
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan after the corruption
scandal in the country that had a negative effect on the public
confidence in the Prime Minister. Shakaryan thinks that Erdogan
needed to rehabilitate himself to pave the way for the forthcoming
presidential elections.

"The Party has obtained 47% of votes by deceptive means. We remember
Erdogan claiming that if he obtained less than 40% of votes, he would
leave the politics. He perfectly realized that if the Party went out
at the local elections, the chances to win the presidential elections
would be too little", Shakaryan said.

The expert pointed out that the March 30 local elections were not
so easily accessible for the opposition media of Turkey. Moreover,
35 provinces experienced electricity blackouts after the polling
stations were closed for ballot counting.

Shakaryan also stressed the important role of Syrian refugees who
were taken to the polling stations by bus and made to vote for
Erdogan's party.

On March 30, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party or AKP won 45
percent of the national vote, with 87 percent of ballot-boxes counted.

The AKP was set to retain control of the biggest city, Istanbul,
and was running neck-and-neck in the capital, Ankara, with the main
opposition Republican People's Party, which won 29 percent nationwide.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to pursue those
behind graft allegations against his government after his party's
victory in local elections.