Turkey is holding a re-run of the mayoral election in Istanbul this Sunday, after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ordered a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul polls over appeals filed by the country's governing AK Party.

Governing AK Party's Binali Yildirim (R) and the main opposition CHP's Ekrem Imamoglu (L) are vying for the Istanbul mayor's seat again after the Supreme Election Council ordered a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul polls.
Governing AK Party's Binali Yildirim (R) and the main opposition CHP's Ekrem Imamoglu (L) are vying for the Istanbul mayor's seat again after the Supreme Election Council ordered a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul polls. (TRTWorld)

The imprisoned leader of the PKK terrorist group, Abdullah Ocalan, called on supporters of the opposition HDP party to remain politically neutral ahead of a local election in Istanbul this weekend, suggesting they should abstain, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The governing AK Party's Binali Yildirim and the main opposition CHP's Ekrem Imamoglu are vying for the Istanbul mayor’s seat again after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ordered a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul polls.

HDP's former leader Selahattin Demirtas, who is imprisoned on terror charges, had declared support for Imamoglu, earlier this week.

"The democratic alliance approach of the HDP should not be a part of current election discussions. The importance of the democratic alliance is that it (...) insists in its neutral position," Ocalan was quoted as saying by academic Ali Kemal Ozcan, who visited him on Thursday.

The HDP later said its strategy of supporting the opposition in the Istanbul mayoral election has not changed despite a last-minute call from jailed PKK terror group leader Abdullah Ocalan for it to be neutral.

Under a so-called "democratic alliance" the HDP has asked its supporters to vote for the main opposition in local elections in towns in the west of Turkey, including in the past in Istanbul and the capital Ankara, where it has not fielded its own candidates.

Ocalan is the founder of the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and United States. It launched an armed campaign against the Turkish in 1984 that has claimed 40,000 lives.

Source: Reuters