Daily Review: Turkey’s Erdogan Suffers Major Defeat in Local Elections

Daily Review: Turkey’s Erdogan Suffers Major Defeat in Local Elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party suffered a major upset in local elections, marking the worst defeat for his Justice and Development party, or AKP, in more than two decades in power. Preliminary results showed the secular opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, winning the nationwide popular vote and sweeping most of Turkey’s major cities, including Istanbul and Ankara. (AP)

Our Take

As we discussed in our Daily Review last Thursday, the AKP had set high expectations for itself in these local elections after Erdogan decisively won reelection in last year’s presidential vote. In particular, Erdogan personally dedicated significant time and resources to Istanbul’s mayoral race, hoping to retake Turkey’s largest city and economic center.

Instead, incumbent Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, of the CHP, handily won reelection, by 10 points over the AKP’s candidate. Since first winning election in 2019, Imamoglu has emerged as one of Turkey’s most popular politicians and a potential challenger to Erdogan in the next presidential election. Because of this perceived threat to the AKP, Imamoglu has repeatedly been the target of legal troubles that most outside observers consider politically motivated.

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