Turkey's main opposition party has lost a bid to force a recount of the results of Sunday's local election in the capital Ankara. Meanwhile, a Turkish court has ruled that a ban on YouTube violated human rights.
The Ankara Electoral Board on Friday rejected an appeal by Turkey's secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) for a vote recount in contested local elections in the capital.
The CHP claimed Sunday's vote was rigged, with widespread allegations of voting irregularities spreading on social media. A party source said the CHP would appeal Friday's court decision.
Prime Minister RecepTayyip Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) increased its share on the national vote during the March 31 elections, retaining control of the financial hub, Istanbul, and the capital, Ankara.
Erdogan's party gained the support despite battling allegations of corruption and accusations of an increasingly authoritarian ruling style.
With no official results yet released, informal tallies show the AKP at 45 percent nationwide, compared to 28 percent for the CHP.
In Ankara, the AKP candidate and incumbent Mayor Melih Gokcek narrowly beat CHP nominee Mansur Yavas with less than a one percent margin, according to provisional electoral board results.
Social media bans lifted
A lower court in Ankara on Friday ruled that a blanket ban on the video-sharing site YouTube violated human rights and ordered the restrictions be lifted.
It followed a similar ruling Wednesday that said a ban on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, violated freedom of expression and individual rights. On Thursday, the country's TIB telecommunications authority removed the block.
The government sought the Twitter and YouTube bans ahead of the key local elections, as both sites were used to leak wiretapped recordings of senior officials. One of the recordings leaked on Twitter appeared to implicate Erdogan and his son in a corruption scandal. He maintains the recordings were fabricated.
On Friday shortly before the YouTube ban verdict was announced, Erdogan said of the court's decision on the Twitter ban, "We are of course bound by the Constitutional Court verdict, but I don't have to respect it," he told reporters before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan. "I don't respect this ruling."
hc/av (Reuters, AFP, AP)