Erdogan refuses to budge over re-run of Istanbul vote

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Saturday that he would not bow to international criticism over a controversial decision to re-run mayoral elections in Istanbul.

“With God’s permission, our people will not bow to threats and the pressure,” Erdogan said, speaking in Turkey’s biggest city and economic hub.

The Turkish leader has come under heavy fire after the country’s top election body last weekannulled the results of the March 31 mayoral vote in Istanbuland ordered a re-run on June 23.

The original vote wasnarrowly won by the opposition candidate, dealing the ruling AKP party its first defeat in the city, which has been controlled by the AKP and its predecessors, for 25 years. But Erdogan alleged “serious corruption” in the count.

The move has been widely condemned by Turkey’s Western allies.

The United States said that a “healthy democracy” with transparent elections was in Turkey’s own interest, while Germany said the decision to annul the election was “not transparent, and incomprehensible to us.”

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