Istanbul Mayor Re-elected

Istanbul Mayor Re-elected
Istanbul Mayor Re-elected

Opposition supporters filled an Istanbul square to celebrate the re-election of Ekrem Imamoglu as mayor, who dealt a second blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party by repeating his landmark 2019 win.

Tens of thousands of people lit torches and waved Turkish flags after partial local election results showed that support for the government had weakened in the wake of nearly 70 percent inflation and the crumbling of the Turkish currency against the dollar.

Large crowds chanted slogans, "Turkey is secular and will remain secular" and "Tayyip, resign!"

Imamoglu addressed the euphoric crowd, but interrupted them when some started booing at a reference to Erdogan and the ruling party.

"There's no booing. We will talk all about this," Imamoglu said.

"After this election, I am thinking about the messages given by our people to our rivals, to the government, and to Mr President," he added.

In Ankara, the CHP mayor Mansur Yavas claimed victory in front of large crowds of supporters, declaring "the elections are over, we will continue to serve Ankara".

Erdogan acknowledged the electoral setback in a speech to supporters at the headquarters of his party.

"Unfortunately, we have not obtained the results that we wanted," he told a subdued crowd.

"We will of course respect the decision of the nation. We will avoid being stubborn, acting against the national will and questioning the power of the nation," he added.

Erdogan has been president since 2014 and won a new term in May last year. He had called Istanbul the national "treasure" when launching his campaign to retake the city.

Some 61 million people were eligible to vote for mayors across Turkey's 81 provinces, as well as provincial council members and other local officials.