Turkish opposition beats Erdogan in historic local elections, president speaks of “turning point”

Turkish opposition beats Erdogan in historic local elections, president speaks of “turning point”
Turkish opposition beats Erdogan in historic local elections, president speaks of “turning point”

Erdogan’s party AKP lost massive votes across Turkey in Sunday’s municipal elections. This is what preliminary results show. The Islamic conservative AKP has been in power for more than twenty years. What observers say are “historically poor” results could mark a shift in Turkey’s already divided political landscape.

According to the state news agency Anadolu, the big winner is the opposition party CHP. The secular and social democratic party won the most provinces, and also won in the two largest cities Istanbul and Ankara. CHP candidates have already claimed victory in both cities.

In Istanbul, current CHP mayor Ekrem Imamoglu would win with 51 percent of the votes against AKP candidate Murat Kurum after the counting of almost all votes. Imamoglu is seen as the hope of the opposition. There is a good chance that he will become the opposition’s presidential candidate in 2028.


Sunday’s Turkish municipal elections were mainly an indicator of the popularity of incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his conservative AKP party. Erdogan unsuccessfully tried to regain the mayorship of the capital Ankara and Istanbul.

The election results mark the worst defeat for Erdogan and his AKP (AKP) in their more than two decades in power. Erdogan called it a “turning point” in a speech after midnight: “Unfortunately, we did not achieve the results we had hoped for,” the president said at his AKP headquarters in Ankara.

“We will respect our nation’s decision without stubbornness. Democracy has won, and now we will evaluate the results of the elections within our party so that we can formulate self-criticism.”

“Message to our rivals and president”

According to analysts, Erdogen and his party performed even worse than the opinion polls due to rising inflation and dissatisfied Islamist voters. Moreover, Imamoglu, the CHP mayor of Istanbul, is said to have won many votes.

“Whoever does not understand the message of this country will lose,” Imamoglu (53) told thousands of jubilant supporters on Sunday evening, some of whom chanted to demand Erdogan’s resignation. “Tonight, 16 million Istanbul residents sent a message to our rivals and the president.”

“Height lost”

Erdogan, who was also mayor of his native Istanbul in the 1990s, had campaigned hard in the run-up to the municipal elections. In his address to the crowd gathered at the AKP headquarters in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said his alliance had “lost height” across the country and that he will take steps to address voters’ message . “If we made a mistake, we will correct it in the coming years,” he said. “If we miss something, we will make up for it.”

Tensions surrounding the elections have been felt in Belgium in recent days and manifested themselves in violence in Turkey on Sunday. The atmosphere became very grim, especially in the southeast of the country, where many Kurds live. Fighting between rival political groups in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir left at least one dead and eleven injured, according to Reuters. At least three people are said to have died and at least 27 people were injured across Turkey.




Tags: Turkish opposition beats Erdogan historic local elections president speaks turning point


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