After twenty years, Erdogan must bow to the Turkish opposition in historic defeat: “We will correct our mistakes”

After twenty years, Erdogan must bow to the Turkish opposition in historic defeat: “We will correct our mistakes”
After twenty years, Erdogan must bow to the Turkish opposition in historic defeat: “We will correct our mistakes”

Erdogan’s party AKP lost massive votes across Turkey in Sunday’s municipal elections. The Islamic conservative AKP has been in power for more than twenty years. The “historically poor” results, according to observers, mark a shift in the already divided political landscape in Turkey.

The big winner is the center-left opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). In Istanbul, the CHP came first with 51.1 percent of the votes compared to 39.6 percent for the AKP. In Ankara, the Turkish capital, the difference is even greater: 60.4 percent for the CHP compared to 31.7 percent for the AKP.


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.

Erdogan gave an introspective speech Monday morning. “This is not an end for us, but a turning point,” he said, although he acknowledged that his party had lost “height.” “If we made a mistake, we will fix it,” he told the crowd gathered at the AKP headquarters in Ankara. However, the president did not clarify what changes he would implement within his party or policy.

The election results mark the worst defeat for Erdogan and his AKP in their more than two decades in power. It is also striking that many municipalities that loyally voted AKP have now switched to CHP.

“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,” Erdogan said.

“Message to our rivals and president”

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

“The period of one-man rule is over from today,” Imamoglu, 53, told thousands of cheering supporters on Sunday evening. The former businessman, who entered politics in 2008, defeated Erdogan’s candidate in local elections five years ago, ending 25 years of rule in the city by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors. He is now being touted as a presidential challenger.

“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.”


Tensions surrounding the elections have been felt in Belgium in recent days and manifested themselves in violence in Turkey on Sunday. Fighting between rival political groups in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir claimed Reuters at least one fatality and eleven injuries. At least three people are said to have died and at least 27 people were injured across Turkey.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: twenty years Erdogan bow Turkish opposition historic defeat correct mistakes


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