Erdogan's grip loosens as opposition wins big in Türkiye's major cities

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

An opposition party is winning local elections in major Türkiye cities such as Ankara and Istanbul, according to preliminary data from more than half of the votes counted, Reuters reported on April 1.

Turkey's political landscape saw a significant shift as opposition parties, led by the Republican People's Party (CHP), clinched victories in major cities including Ankara and Istanbul, marking a considerable setback for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). Preliminary results show the CHP's growing influence in Turkey's urban centers, challenging Erdogan's long-standing dominance.

With most of the votes counted, Imamoglu is leading by almost 10 percent in the race for mayor of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, while his Republican People's Party (CHP) retained Ankara and won nine other mayoral seats in major cities across the country.

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Analysts point out that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been ruling Turkiye for more than two decades, received less positive results than expected in the polls. This was due to skyrocketing inflation, dissatisfaction among Islamist voters, and the appeal of the opponent, in particular, Imamoglu.

Thousands of supporters gathered in the capital Ankara at night to hear Mayor Mansur Yavaş speak, defeating his rival from the Justice and Development Party in yet another blow to Erdogan.

According to 79.77% of the ballot boxes opened in Istanbul, Imamoglu won 50.53% of the vote, compared to 40.73% received by the Justice and Development Party candidate, Murat Kurum, a former minister in Erdogan's government.

Partial official results released by the state-run Anadolu Agency show that the AKP, along with its main ally, lost mayoralty in 10 major cities, including Bursa and Balikesir, in the industrial northwest.

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According to these results, the AKP still leads the country with a nearly 1% vote margin, the lowest in 35 years. Mert Arslanalp, an associate professor of political science at Istanbul's Bogazici University, called it "Erdogan's severest election defeat" since he came to national power in 2002.

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