Erdoğan says rerun of Istanbul election is ‘best step’ for Turkey

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has welcomed a controversial order to rerun the recent Istanbul election after complaints of corruption as the “best step” for the country.

“We see this decision as the best step that will strengthen our will to solve problems within the framework of democracy and law,” Erdoğan told a meeting of his AKP party in parliament.

His comments came a day after the top election body cancelled the 31 March vote that handed the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu a narrow lead over Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).

The AKP has refused to accept defeat, citing “irregularities and corruption” in the vote. Erdoğan on Tuesday spoke of “organised crime” and “serious corruption” during the vote.

“The documents we have presented are quite solid and based on concrete evidence which cannot be disputed,” he said. “We sincerely believe there was organised corruption and irregularities.”

He said if his government did not bring to account the “thieves” who stole the “national will” at the ballot box, “our people will demand an explanation from us”.

With 16 million residents, Istanbul is Turkey’s economic engine and controls a major chunk of public spending.

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