Erdogan suffers rare defeat in Türkiye’s local elections


ISTANBUL — Turkey’s main opposition party scored a landslide victory in local elections on Sunday, handing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan his worst defeat of the campaign. , exposed voters’ anger at a severe and debilitating economic crisis.

Unofficial results showed the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leading Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nationwide 37.7% to 35.5%, with 99.8% of votes counted. to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

On March 31, Turkey’s opposition parties won elections in Istanbul, Ankara and other major cities. This was the most disastrous defeat for President Tayyip Erdogan. (Video: Reuters)

The elections for mayors and local council seats were the first nationwide victories for the Republican People’s Party in more than two decades as Erdogan has been Turkey’s main leader.It marks a stunning turnaround for the Republican People’s Party less than a year after its candidate was elected Defeated by Erdogan in a presidential campaign that has thrown Türkiye’s opposition into disarray.

Still, Erdogan appeared modest on Sunday evening amid signs of defections from the ruling party and opposition gains in conservative sectors that are the president’s main backers.

“We have lost momentum across the country,” Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara on Sunday night. “We will truly evaluate the election results and boldly conduct self-criticism.”

The election’s biggest prize is Istanbul: a city of 16 million people, Turkey’s economic powerhouse and the launchpad for Erdogan’s storied political career as mayor. Incumbent Republican People’s Party mayor Ekrem Imamoglu defeated his ruling party challenger on Sunday by just over 1 million votes, according to unofficial results.

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The victory boosts Imamoglu’s status as Erdogan’s most serious challenger less than five years ago He became famous throughout the country Wrestling the city’s mayoral seat from decades of control by the Justice and Development Party. After a campaign focused on local issues – Istanbul’s revitalization, the city’s earthquake preparedness – Imamoglu expressed his victory in broader terms Sunday night, targeting Erdogan dictatorship.

He said Sunday “marks the end of the erosion of democracy and the restoration of democracy in Turkey.” “People who were oppressed under the dictatorship are now turning their attention to Istanbul.”

Results showed Republican People’s Party candidates winning control of 35 of Turkey’s 81 provinces and retaining or gaining control of the country’s five largest cities – a huge victory that left opposition supporters wondering, What would have happened if they had fielded a more charismatic candidate in last year’s presidential race? .

The opposition coalition collapsed after the candidate’s defeat, Kemal Kilikdaroglu, did not harm CHP’s fortunes on Sunday. In Istanbul, results showed that supporters of a main Kurdish opposition party fielding its own mayoral candidate voted instead for Imamoglu.

Erdogan’s party appears to have been hit by defections, including from an Islamist party that criticized the Turkish leader for not severing economic ties with Israel during the Middle East war. Gaza war and received more than 6% of the national vote.

But this is Erdogan’s economical handling This seems to be most prominent in this campaign, with households being hit by runaway inflation and currency devaluation. Despite Erdogan appointing a well-respected economic team last year and deciding to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to their highest levels in decades, inflation remains around 70%.

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“It’s all about the economy,” said Altan Barcin, 56, a CHP supporter who waited to vote in Istanbul’s Gungoren district early Sunday. He said he had previously voted for Erdogan’s party, a few years after it came to power, when it was “doing well”.

“I think their economic policies will have an impact on the outcome of the election,” he said.

Another voter, Fatma Ensari, 50, said she was lukewarm about Imamoglu – “I don’t think he has done much for Istanbul” – but nevertheless will vote for him as a “reaction to the government”.

“I will vote based on the overall situation in Turkey. The economy, education – we are not happy with any of them,” she said.

Fahim reported from Beirut.



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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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