HomeHoroscopeTurkey's opposition thumps Erdogan in pivotal local elections - Times of India

Turkey’s opposition thumps Erdogan in pivotal local elections – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: In a significant blow to President Tayyip Erdogan and his party, Turks delivered a resounding local election defeat on Sunday, reaffirming the opposition’s strength and solidifying Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu as Erdogan’s primary rival.
With the majority of votes tallied, Imamoglu held a commanding lead of 10 percentage points in the Istanbul mayoral race, while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) retained control of Ankara and secured 15 other mayoral seats across the country.This electoral setback marked the most significant loss for Erdogan and his AK Party (AKP) in their over two-decade reign, potentially signaling a shift in Turkey’s political landscape.
Imamoglu’s success in Istanbul was attributed to factors such as soaring inflation, dissatisfied Islamist voters, and his broad appeal beyond the CHP’s traditional support base. Following the election results, Erdogan acknowledged the outcome as a “turning point” in a late-night address. Imamoglu, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters, emphasized the importance of understanding the nation’s message, stating, “Those who do not understand the nation’s message will eventually lose.” He highlighted the significance of the 16 million Istanbul citizens who sent a clear message to their rivals and the president.
Despite Erdogan’s extensive campaigning efforts leading up to the municipal elections, the AKP suffered a more significant defeat than anticipated by opinion polls. Erdogan vowed to address the voters’ message and make necessary corrections in the coming years. Meanwhile, in Ankara, thousands of supporters celebrated the reelected CHP Mayor Mansur Yavas, who convincingly defeated his AKP opponent.
In Istanbul, Imamoglu secured 50.92% of the votes compared to 40.05% for AKP’s Murat Kurum, according to official results from 92.92% of ballot boxes. This victory in Turkey’s largest city underscored Imamoglu’s growing political stature and potential as a future presidential challenger. The AKP and its allies also relinquished control of mayoralties in 19 key municipalities, including major cities like Bursa and Balikesir, reflecting the strain on working-class voters.
Analysts viewed Imamoglu’s ability to bridge the deep socio-political divisions within Turkey’s opposition electorate as a significant factor in his success. His victory was seen as a stark defeat for Erdogan, marking the President’s most severe electoral setback since assuming power in 2002. The economic challenges faced by Turkish citizens, including high inflation and slowed growth, played a pivotal role in voters’ decision to punish the AKP at the polls.
Imamoglu’s rise in Turkish politics began in 2019 when he ended the AKP’s 25-year rule in Istanbul and secured victory in the mayoral race. Despite the collapse of the opposition alliance that failed to unseat Erdogan last year, Imamoglu’s popularity endured. The pro-Kurdish party’s decision to field its candidate in Istanbul did not deter Imamoglu’s support, as many Kurds cast their votes for him once again.
The election day was not without incidents, with reports of violence in several regions, resulting in casualties and injuries. Despite these challenges, the electoral outcome signified a significant shift in Turkey’s political landscape and highlighted Imamoglu’s emergence as a formidable challenger to Erdogan’s rule.

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