Turkey local elections: Opposition pulls off surprise win as Erdogan calls it a ‘turning point’ – WION

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In an unexpected but significant blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s main opposition party clinched major election victories in the cities of Istanbul and Ankara.

The election results of the local polls were a major setback for Erdogan since he had hoped to take back control of the cities soon after clinching a third term as the president.

The Turkish president had carried out a campaign across Istanbul – a city where he had grown up and also once held the position of mayor.

However, Ekrem Imamoglu, who had for the first time won local polls in the city in 2019, clinched a second victory for the secular opposition CHP.

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Declaring his victory, an overjoyed Imamoglu said, “My dear Istanbulites, you opened the door to a new future today. Starting from tomorrow, Turkey will be a different Turkey. You opened the door to the rise of democracy, equality and freedom … You ignited hope at the ballot box.”

Meanwhile, the head of the CHP Ozgur Ozel, while addressing the supporters with tears in his eyes, said, “These election results show that voters decided to establish a new politics in Turkey.”

Erdogan tastes defeat for the first time in 21 years 

For the first time since Erdogan came to power 21 years ago, AKP faced a defeat at the ballot box.

After 92.92 per cent of ballot boxes were opened in Istanbul, Imamoglu had 50.92 per cent votes in comparison to 40.05 per cent of votes which was with AKP challenger Murat Kurum.

In the capital city Ankara, opposition mayor Mansur Yavas was able to declare victory when less than half of the votes were in, as he had already clinched more than 59 per cent of votes at the time.

Meanwhile, the CHP was also seeing victory in other big cities like Izmir and Bursa, Adana and the resort town of Antalya.

Not an end but a turning point, says Erdogan after historic defeat

Acknowledging his historic defeat in the polls, President Erdogan said that the elections did not end as they had hoped, however, he said it would mark “not an end for us but rather a turning point”.

Watch: Turkey Municipal Elections: Fierce contest for Istanbul, Ankara

“Regardless of the results, the winner of this election is primarily democracy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result we wanted in local elections … Everything happens for a reason. We will rebuild trust in places where our nation has chosen someone else,” he added.

“If we made a mistake, we will fix it. If we have anything missing, we will complete it,” he said.

Addressing his supporters at AKP headquarters in Ankara, Erdogan, at one point, said, “I am madly in love with you.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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