AKP defeat ends 25 years of dominance over capital and sends shockwaves through country

For the first time in his 16 years in office, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been punished at the ballot box as his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) lost control of the capital, Ankara, in fiercely fought local elections.

In a further potential blow, claims of an AKP victory in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and commercial centre, were challenged by the opposition.

The AKP’s loss in Ankara to the secular People’s Republican Party (CHP) mayoral candidate, Mansur Yavaş, ended 25 years of the Islamist party’s dominance over the capital and sent shockwaves throughout the rest of the country.

In Istanbul, the main opposition bloc candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, said in the early hours of Monday that he had won by nearly 28,000 votes over the AKP candidate and former prime minister, Binali Yıldırım. But minutes later, the AKP provincial head in Istanbul said Yıldırım had won by about 4,000 votes.

What should have been routine municipality elections morphed into a referendum on Erdoğan’s deacade and a half in office as economic woes began to bite into his support.

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