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Erdogan’s AK party loses Turkey cities, secularist party claims victory

Erdogan’s AK party loses Turkey cities, secularist party claims victory

In an upset for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has claimed resounding victories in the crucial cities of Istanbul and Ankara in the local elections.

With over 95 per cent of the ballot boxes opened in Istanbul, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu of the CHP declared a decisive triumph over the AK Party candidate, garnering more than one million votes ahead.

Addressing jubilant supporters, Imamoglu emphasized the significance of the electorate's message, stating, "Those who do not understand the nation’s message will eventually lose." He highlighted that the outcome of the election, with a massive voter turnout, symbolized a clear statement from the citizens of Istanbul.

Similar scenes unfolded in the capital city of Ankara, where CHP's Mayor Mansur Yavas celebrated his victory, interpreting it as a "clear message to those who rule this country."

The CHP's triumph extended beyond the two major cities, as they also held the lead in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city. State-run Anadolu Agency reported that the CHP prevailed in 36 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces, marking significant inroads into many traditional AK Party strongholds.

Opposition supporters took to the streets of Istanbul in large numbers, celebrating the results with torches and Turkish flags, underscoring the magnitude of the electoral shift.

President Erdogan, addressing the nation from the balcony of the presidential palace, acknowledged the setback suffered by his party, conceding that they had "lost altitude" across the country. He pledged to engage in self-reflection and rectify any mistakes made by the party, signalling a potential recalibration of his political strategy in response to the electoral setback.

The defeat in Istanbul holds personal resonance for Erdogan, who was born and raised in the city and previously served as its mayor in the 1990s. In the 2019 local elections, Imamoglu's victory in Istanbul marked a significant blow to Erdogan and the AK Party. Sunday's results represent another setback for the president, who had sought to reclaim control over key urban areas.

Analysts view the outcome of the local elections as a referendum on Erdogan's leadership, particularly amidst economic challenges such as skyrocketing inflation and the depreciation of the Turkish currency against the dollar.

Sinan Ulgen, director of the Istanbul-based Edam think tank, described the results as "surprising" and attributed them to voters' desire to hold the governing party accountable for the state of the economy. Ulgen also suggested that Imamoglu's success positions him as a formidable candidate for the opposition in future presidential elections.

With over 61 million eligible voters participating in the local elections across Turkey, the resounding victories of the CHP in Istanbul and Ankara signal a seismic shift in the country's political landscape.

As Erdogan and the AK Party grapple with the aftermath of this electoral setback, attention turns to how they will navigate the challenges ahead and whether the opposition's momentum will translate into broader political gains in the future.

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TAGS:President Recep Tayyip ErdoganJustice and Development Party
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