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Turkish Opposition Claims Victory in Istanbul and Ankara, Dealing Blow to President Erdogan’s Party

Turkey’s President Erdogan acknowledges electoral setback but vows to respect electorate’s decision, promising renewal and self-reflection within his party.

Turkey’s main opposition party has celebrated significant wins in major cities, dealing a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

In a stunning upset, Istanbul and Ankara, two of Turkey’s most prominent cities, have fallen under the control of the secular opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). This outcome marks a notable setback for Erdogan, who had sought to reclaim these cities less than a year after securing a third term as president.

Erdogan’s AK Party had mounted a vigorous campaign in Istanbul, where he had previously served as mayor. However, Ekrem Imamoglu, the incumbent mayor who clinched victory in 2019, secured a second term for the CHP, garnering over 50% of the vote and defeating the AK Party’s candidate by a substantial margin.

This electoral defeat marks the first time in Erdogan’s 21-year tenure that his party has been defeated across the country, signaling a significant shift in political dynamics.

In the capital city of Ankara, opposition mayor Mansur Yavas declared victory with a commanding lead of 60% over his rival. The enthusiastic response from supporters, who flooded the streets waving flags and celebrating, underscores the decisive nature of the opposition’s triumph.

Beyond Istanbul and Ankara, the CHP has made gains in other key cities such as Bursa and Balikesir, while retaining control of Izmir, Adana, and Antalya. The breadth of these victories demonstrates widespread discontent with the ruling party and a desire for change among Turkish voters.

President Erdogan, while acknowledging the electoral setback, emphasized that it marks a turning point rather than an end for his party. He vowed to respect the electorate’s decision and pledged to use the next four years to “renew ourselves and compensate for our mistakes.”

The outcome of these elections reflects a desire among Turkish voters for a new political climate and a departure from the status quo. Supporters of the opposition expressed optimism about the future, hailing the victories as a historic moment for Turkey.

With turnout estimated at over 77% across the country, including a significant number of first-time voters, these elections underscore the importance of civic engagement and democratic participation in shaping the nation’s future.

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