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Berlin (CNSNews.com) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s gamble in calling for a re-do of last March’s mayoral election in Istanbul failed dismally this week, after his opponent achieved even more votes the second time around.
Turkey-watchers speculate that the increasingly autocratic Erdogan may respond by using his powers to try to rein in the local governments in major cities no longer controlled by his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP).
Istanbul - Rerun - Ekrem - Imamoglu - Opposition
In the Istanbul rerun, Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) beat the AKP candidate, Binali Yldirim, by a margin of more than nine percent – significantly more than Imamoglu’s original 0.16 percent margin of victory in March.
The March election was marked by major setbacks for the AKP, which lost control not only over the capital, Ankara, but also over Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest and most historic city – and the city which Erdogan himself ran as mayor from 1994-1998.
AKP - Recount - Istanbul - Votes - Process
The AKP demanded a full recount of the Istanbul votes, claiming the process was “tainted,” prompting Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) – a body whose independence has been questioned in the past – to order a rerun.
The move appears to have backfired: The YSK early this week confirmed that that secular and liberal Imamoglu had beaten his rival by 54.21 to 44.99 percent – the biggest margin of victory secured by any mayoral candidate in the city in 35 years.
Results - Capitals - Return - Democracy - Turkey
The results has been hailed in Western capitals as a return to democracy in Turkey, where the international community has been increasingly concerned about a shift towards authoritarianism since Erdogan, formerly the prime minister, became president in 2014.
In particular, the European Union has been deeply concerned about Erdogan’s crackdown following a failed coup attempt in 2016, which saw 150,000 people detained. He went on to consolidate sweeping executive powers for himself following a...
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