President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
appears to have conceded defeat in Istanbul after his ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) lost Ankara, the core of Turkey’s politics. Erdogan’s aggressive campaigns prior to elections
failed to win voters’ favor.
The outcome of the weekend municipal
voting is a huge setback for Erdogan who has maintained a stronghold of the two
key cities since coming to power 16 years ago:
Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu
declared victory for his secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Ankara
and Istanbul. His party also maintained
their grasp on Izmir, third largest city of Turkey:
“The people have voted in favor
of democracy, they have chosen democracy.”
Ilayda Kocoglu, Vice-President of the
Istanbul branch of the opposition Republican People’s Party played the game of
“We think they were not
able to rig the election. They were not expecting us to be that organized, or
With 99.8 percent of ballot boxes
opened in Ankara, CHP mayoral candidate Mansur Yavas had secured 50.9 percent,
giving him a 3.8-percentage-point lead over his AKP rival.
Erdogan told supporters in Ankara
that despite the AKP defeat in Istanbul, majority of the neighborhood cities
still fall under his party.
“Even if our people gave away
the mayorship, they gave the districts to the AK Party,” he said.
Turkey’s president vowed to focus and
work on the country’s weakened economy until the national elections in
2023. Currently, unemployment exceeds 10
percent and up to 30 percent among young people. The Turkish Lira depreciated 28 percent in
2018 and inflation rose by 20 percent.
Erdogan said that their troubled
economy is the result of attacks from the West.
He assured his supporters that “Turkey would overcome its troubles and
adding he was the boss of the economy.”
“We have a long period ahead where we will
carry out economic reforms without compromising on the rules of the free-market
economy,” he added.