The European Union congratulated the people of Istanbul on “the strong signal for democracy” that they gave in yesterday’s mayoral elections. The opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, defeated the ruling AK party’s candidate, Binali Yildirim, by a generous margin of 800,000 votes.
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Hahn, commends the Turkish authorities for accepting the “impressive result” of the opponent. The ballot was a repeat of the March elections, which were also won by Imamoglu, albeit with a much tighter lead.
The AK party then objected and moved the electoral council to declare the result invalid on procedural grounds and to hold new elections. President Erdogan, also AKP leader, recently announced that the result of yesterday would be final.
“You have anchored democracy in this city,” Imamoglu said in his victory speech. His listeners made the heart symbol with their hands, referring to the message of love and inclusiveness with which Imamoglu campaigned.
It is a sensitive defeat for Erdogan, who has left his conservative mark on Turkey since 2003 as prime minister and eleven years later as president. But the economic downturn and the fall of the Turkish currency, the lira, have affected its popularity. Imamoglu received support even in traditional AK-minded neighbourhoods in Istanbul.
The result in Istanbul reflects the mood throughout the country. The country is currently fed up with the AKP. Erdogan to replace people at the party top and possibly to take a more moderate course. But to be honest, in recent years it has only become sharper, more hostile.