'Everything will be fine': opposition rallies for Istanbul vote re-run

Their slogan -- #herseycokguzelolacak, meaning "everything will be fine" -- has gone viral on social media
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Free refunds on flights, crowdfunded bus tickets for students and crazy weather warnings -- it's all designed to keep Istanbul residents in the city and ensure the opposition wins a controversial replay of the mayoral election. Opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are determined to maintain an upbeat and good-humoured mood in the face of the election board's shock decision this week to annul their victory in the recent mayoral vote, and force a re-run on June 23. Their slogan -- #herseycokguzelolacak, meaning "everything will be fine" -- has gone viral on social media. Businesses and artists, who have been under pressure from the government's crackdown on political dissent, have flocked to the cause. "Dear Istanbulites, heavy snowfall is predicted in Bodrum on June 23. All our beaches will be closed," said the opposition-run council in Turkey's sun-drenched answer to the French riviera. With the election falling at a time when Istanbulites often head south to the beaches, Bodrum predicted snow for election day, while other resorts warned of 150-degree temperatures and 90-percent humidity. "We advise you to enjoy the sun that will rise in Istanbul on the same day. But we will be waiting for everyone from June 24 because #everythingwillbefine," Bodrum municipality tweeted. One after another on Tuesday -- a day after the ruling by the election board -- airlines including Pegasus and Turkish Airlines said they would offer free refunds to people who wanted to stay in Istanbul for the vote. The Association of Turkish Travel Agents said early hotel reservations could be cancelled without penalty. - Artists speak up - A social media campaign also sprang up under the hashtag #BirOtobusBenden (one bus from me) with people pledging to pay fares for students who want to return to Istanbul for the vote. Famous musicians and actors -- who have often steered clear of politics for fear of repercussions -- have been galvanised by the election re-run. "I couldn't get a wink of sleep yesterday but in the morning the light that rose from the horizon was brighter than usual. I have seen that #everythingwillbefine," pop star Tarkan tweeted to his 3.5 million followers. Famous comedian Cem Yilmaz wrote: "We need an explanation but there is none... Our country doesn't deserve this." Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), who was stripped of his mayoral victory on Monday, has set the tone for the fight-back. "Artists cannot speak? No, they will. Business people cannot speak? They also will," he said. Erdogan refused to accept the results of the mayoral vote on March 31, saying the opposition's victory was due to "organised corruption" at the ballot box. His party did not criticise the results for local districts in the city, where it won a majority. Their slogan -- #herseycokguzelolacak, meaning "everything will be fine" -- has gone viral on social media

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