Erdogan Concedes Party Defeat in Major Cities Over Economic Crisis

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Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) is losing in major cities, including Istanbul. Ekrem Imamoglu will continue as Mayor of Istanbul.

Turkey’s main opposition party has declared victory in high-stakes elections in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara. They will also lose Izmir, Bursa, and Antalya.

Erdogan has conceded defeat.

Mehmet Bankaci, 27, told the BBC there was a need for change in Turkey: “If Imamoglu or Mansur Yavas had been the CHP candidate in last year’s presidential election, they definitely would have won.”

The issue is the economy and inflation. The ruling party has been unable to stem the economic crisis that has seen inflation rates of 67% and interest rates at 50%. It’s expected to go up next month.

Five years ago, Mr. Imamoglu overturned years of AK Party rule in Istanbul with the backing of other opposition parties. But that opposition unity fell apart in the wake of last year’s presidential election defeat, and the AK Party had high hopes of overturning his 2019 victory. That won’t happen.

The city hosts a fifth of Turkey’s population of nearly 85 million people. Control Istanbul, and you control a significant portion of Turkey’s economy, including trade, tourism, and finance.

According to the results, Mansur Yavas, the mayor of the capital, Ankara, retained his seat with a stunning 25-point difference over his challenger.

In all, the CHP (Republican People’s Party) gained 37% of the votes nationwide, compared to 36% for the president’s party, marking the CHP’s greatest electoral victory since Erdogan came to power two decades ago.

Erdogan acknowledged the electoral setback in a speech delivered from the balcony of the presidential palace, saying his party had suffered “a loss of altitude” across Turkey. The people delivered a “message” that his party will “analyze” by engaging in “courageous” self-criticism, he said.

“Unfortunately, nine months after our victory in the May 28 elections, we could not get the result we wanted in the local election test,” Erdogan added. “We will correct our mistakes and redress our shortcomings.”

He vowed to press ahead with an economic program introduced last year to combat inflation.


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