by Marianna Mkrtchyan
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.