The opposition apparently retained the posts of mayors of Istanbul and Ankara | iRADIO

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party apparently failed to win the city halls in Istanbul and Ankara in the local elections, according to interim results. The president has already acknowledged that his party has not achieved the desired results. The mayors of both cities from the largest opposition group, the People’s Republican Party, are leading by a large margin in the ongoing vote count and have already declared themselves the winners.



Ankara
6:47 a.m April 1, 2024

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Photo: Umit Bektas | Source: Reuters

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu leads more than 87 percent of the precincts with 50 percent of the vote. He has a lead of ten percentage points over the candidate from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and ex-Minister of the Environment Murat Kurum. “We won the election. Thank you for your support,” Imamoglu told his supporters.

According to AFP, the current mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavaş, also declared himself the winner of the election. He had a lead of 25 percentage points over the AKP candidate at around 23:00 CET after counting three quarters of precincts. “Those who were overlooked sent a signal to those who rule,” Yavaş told his supporters. Candidates of the opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) also lead in the other three largest Turkish cities and metropolitan areas.

‘Signal for Government’

CHP head Özgür Özel commented on the results of the municipal elections that the voters sent an important signal to the government. “They opened the door to a new atmosphere in politics,” the party chief declared. According to him, voters rewarded the good work of CHP mayors in Turkey’s largest cities, who led well even without the support of the central government.


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According to the nationwide results, which reflect the situation in 80 percent of the precincts where the census ended, the CHP received 37 percent of the vote and the AKP 36 percent of the vote.

According to AFP, Erdogan “threw his full weight” into the election campaign. The president, who got his start in politics as Istanbul’s mayor, was keen for the AKP to regain City Hall in Turkey’s largest city, home to 16 million people and accounting for 30 percent of Turkey’s GDP.

The Justice and Development Party lost the City Hall in 2019, when its candidate was defeated by Imamoglu in regular and repeat elections.

“Unfortunately, we did not achieve the results we envisioned,” Erdogan said outside the AKP headquarters in Ankara. He told an unusually quiet crowd, according to AFP, that the vote was a turning point for his camp from which he would draw consequences. The president also promised to “respect the decision” of voters.

One of the hardest defeats

According to political analyst Mert Arslanalp, the election result for Erdogan is one of the heaviest electoral defeats since entering national politics more than 20 years ago, Reuters writes. According to other observers, Imamoglu may have presidential ambitions after the vote.

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According to maps of partial election results published by Turkish media, the CHP is leading after local elections mainly in the west of the country and in major cities. Erdogan’s AKP has retained the center of Turkey, which has a more rural character. In the southeast, the party of the Kurdish minority DEM is celebrating success.

According to observers, elections in Turkey are taking place without direct fraud, but under unfair conditions. Erdogan and his party have a clear advantage in access to state and partly private media.

Opposition politicians face various backlash from the authorities, and Kurdish party leaders are in some cases prosecuted for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which carries heavy penalties in Turkey.

CTK

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