By Mehmet Tosun
ANKARA (AA) - In a response to Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu's unjust claims late Sunday, Anadolu Agency stated that it transmits data, not announces the election results.
During a face-to-face debate with ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim that was live broadcasted by all major television channels in the country, Imamoglu asked his rival to explain why Anadolu Agency, the largest news source in Turkey, did not transmit results for 12 hours on the night of the March 31 local elections.
"We respectfully announce that once again we condemn Imamoglu for persistently targeting our agency and making unjust accusations despite all the statements we have made," Anadolu Agency said in a statement.
Anadolu Agency is a media organization that transfers data, not announcing the election results, it said adding that the country's Supreme Election Council (YSK) is responsible to announce the election results not Anadolu Agency.
"As Anadolu Agency explained the issue several times on the night of March 31 and since, while it was transferring the results of the other 80 provinces and the polling rate in Istanbul almost reached out 99%, the agency waited for the YSK results in Istanbul because of the interruption of the data flow and the unclarity of the outcome," according to the statement.
"In the past six elections before the March 31 polls, Anadolu Agency waited as well for the YSK to announce the final result when the rate of opened ballot boxes reached 99%. The practice on March 31 was not different from the other elections," Anadolu Agency said.
"We would like to stress that Anadolu Agency is not the announcer of the election results, but a media organization that relays data. Not Anadolu Agency but the YSK announces the election results in Turkey," the statement added.
In Sunday's live debate, Turkish main opposition Republican People Party's (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Imamoglu repeatedly accused Anadolu Agency of not publishing poll results during the March local elections.
When asked about his opinion on why there were no data from Anadolu Agency on Istanbul elections after ballot boxes were counted nearly by 99%, Imamoglu said: "Because it did not serve their purpose, that's why."
Imamoglu, during a question he was answering about why the voters will go to ballot boxes again, claimed that Anadolu Agency "cut" the data flow at 11.25 p.m. local time [2025GMT] on election night, at the exact moment when Yildirim claimed he won the Istanbul elections.
For his part to answer the data flow question, Yildirim said "I do not know. Anadolu Agency data flow is not my job. As I told you before, we followed the elections with our data. We always do like that. At 11.25 p.m. local time [2025GMT], according to our data and calculations, we were up by nine points and in a position to declare victory. It was not a mistake."