Backdropped by a poster of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, left, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader, and modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, right, Ekrem Imamoglu, the CHP's mayoral candidate in Istanbul, poses for The Associated Press following an interview in Istanbul, Thursday, April 4, 2019. Imamoglu said he's confident that the result of a recount of votes in the city will confirm his victory and has renewed an appeal to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to help end the standoff. Imamoglu won the tight race for Istanbul in Sunday's local elections in a major upset for Erdogan, who rose to power as the mayor of the city of 15 million and has said that whoever wins Istanbul wins to whole of Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Latest: Turkey's leader defends demanding vote recount

April 05, 2019 - 8:23 am

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on Turkey's local election (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

Turkey's president says his party's demands for vote recounts to challenge the unofficial results of Sunday's municipal elections are only natural.

Speaking after Friday prayers in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the elections were over but the legal process was ongoing with his party's objections to the vote counts.

Erdogan's ruling party suffered a setback, losing Istanbul and the capital Ankara to the opposition but winning a majority of nationwide votes, according to unofficial results.

Erdogan said Turkey's electoral board was the "boss" of the process and would make a final decision.

Erdogan also slammed the United States and European countries, accusing them of meddling in Turkey's internal affairs and saying Turkey's high voter turnout was a "democracy lesson" for the world.

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4 p.m.

The mood among opposition supporters in Turkey's biggest city is one of jubilation but also worry — fear that their win in Istanbul's mayoral race could be overturned in a recount taking place after the ruling party challenged the election results.

In an unexpected setback to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the opposition snatched away his ruling party's quarter-century-old stronghold of Ankara, the capital, in Turkey's local election last Sunday. The opposition also won a tight race in Istanbul, the country's financial and cultural capital, where Erdogan himself rose to power as mayor in 1994.

The opposition made these gains despite an election that international observers say was not fair. Turkish media covered Erdogan's constant campaign appearances on behalf of his party but did not give remotely similar coverage to opposition candidates.

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