On Friday, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States and the European Union of “meddling” in his country’s local elections.
Erdogan told reporters, "America and Europe are... meddling in Turkey's internal affairs," reported AFP, and that the U.S. and Europe should “know your place.”
"Turkey gave a democracy lesson to the whole world," Erdogan added.
On Sunday, Erdogan’s party, the AKP, suffered a defeat in the mayoral race for Istanbul, the city in which Erdogan rose to power in as mayor. The AKP also lost control of Ankara, the capital city which has been held by the party for decades. Since the defeat, the AKP has contested the results in both cities, and a recount is currently taking place in districts of Istanbul, The Washington Post reported.
The results showed the mayoral candidate of the opposition CHP, Ekrem Imamoglu, ahead by about 25,000 votes in Istanbul, a city which has a population of about 15 million. But on Thursday, Ali Ihsan Yavuz, a deputy chairman of the AKP, reportedly said the recount had narrowed Yildrim’s lead to around 19,000. On Thursday, AKP secretary general Farih Sahin said the party would petition to Akara’s provincial election board for a recount in Akara as well.
In a Tuesday briefing, U.S. Department of State spokesman Robert Palladino reportedly commented on the results. "Free and fair elections are essential for any democracy,” Palladino said. “And this means acceptance of legitimate election results are essential.”
The results of the election and the ongoing recount have not stopped Erdogan and his party from declaring victory. Around Istanbul, there are reportedly posters depicting the AKP candidate Binali Yildirim and Erdogan thanking Istanbul for the victory, reported BBC.
Imamoglu called the leaders of the AKP leaders’ actions impolite.
"It's not polite behaviour," Imamoglu said. "We have the results from the electoral board and we know who is in the lead," Imamoglu told BBC in an interview.
"Up until yesterday, the government and the ruling party were claiming that Turkey had the most credible voting system and they were giving it the highest praise,” Imamoglu added.
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence slammed Turkey for a separate matter. The Daily Wire reported that at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of NATO, Pence called Turkey's plans to purchase an advanced missile defense system from Russia “deeply troubling.”
“We have made it clear that we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries — weapons that threaten the very cohesion of this alliance,” Pence said. “Turkey’s purchase of a 2.5 billion S-400 anti-aircraft missile system from Russia poses great danger to NATO and to the strength of this alliance.”
Pence also said that the U.S. is “immediately suspending shipments of all F-35 joint strike fighter-related equipment to Turkey and that if the deal moves forward, Turkey may be expelled from the joint F-35 program.
“Turkey must choose,” Pence told the audience."Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?"