Turkey’s Erdoğan suffers blow in crucial mayoral elections as secular opposition surges – POLITICO

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In his victory speech delivered late Sunday, Imamoğlu said the local election results would have big implications for the country’s political future.

“Turkey will blossom into a new era in democracy as of tomorrow. March 31, 2024 is the day when democratic erosion ends and democracy begins to recover,” he told a big crowd in Istanbul. 

Imamoğlu is seen as a future challenger to Erdoğan, and winning the city which catapulted the current president to national prominence when he won the mayorship 30 years ago is a symbolic achievement.

Erdoğan conceded defeat and promised to listen to the message delivered by Turkish voters. “March 31 is not an end for us, but a turning point,” he said.

Turkey’s long-serving leader — in office as president or prime minister since 2003 — had vowed to recapture the city where he had made his political career, and sent no fewer than 17 government ministers to campaign in Istanbul ahead of voting.

The CHP also won in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, as well as Izmir, Bursa and Adana, pushing its support to 37.4 percent nationwide with more than 90 percent of the votes counted.

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