World Leaders Congratulate Erdogan on Latest Polls

Jeannie Matthews
April 2, 2019

The opposition CHP party candidate for Istanbul mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, was leading by almost 28,000 votes with most ballot boxes counted, Supreme Election Board (YSK) chairman Sadi Guven said. AKP provincial head disputed the claim saying that AKP took the victory by gaining 4,000 more votes than CHP.

Critics have said Sunday's elections were not fought fairly, with several HDP leaders in the south-east of the country arrested on terror charges in the runup to voting day.

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Late last night, after Yildirim's lead shrank to only 4,000, the Official Election Commission (YSK) ceased updating vote results in Istanbul.

AK Party candidates garnered the support of 44.42% of voters as main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) received 30.07% of the votes with 10 metropolitan municipalities and 10 city municipalities.

The opposition also retained its hold over Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city.

Yavas had been slightly ahead in some recent opinion polls before the election. Erdogan got 52.6 percent of the vote in June.

Procedures to challenge the vote continue, Guven said with 84 ballot boxes left to the counted.

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The loss in Istanbul, analysts said, would be especially sensitive for Erdogan, who grew up in the city's working-class Kasimpasa neighborhood, and liked to tell AKP rank-and-file that victory in the city was like winning all of Turkey.

"The (lira) market is focusing on the positive that it could have been a worse result for AKP and Erdogan has also said he will respect free markets, which would be positive if it happens", said UniCredit EM FX strategist Kiran Kowshik.

How he manages the economy will be key for the party's success before the next presidential and general election in 2023.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate from an alliance led by the secular Republican People's Party, thanked all Istanbul voters on Monday.

Erdogan has also indicated that he is planning to intensify military operations targeting Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria, where the Turkish bourgeoisie fears that US-backed Kurdish militias could set up an independent Kurdish state and win support from Kurds inside Turkey itself.

"We have won the election in Istanbul".

In addition to Ankara, Mediterranean tourism hub Antalya, coastal province Adana and port hub Mersin looked headed for opposition control, with candidates allied to the CHP defeating mayors who won in the last municipal elections for one of two parties in Erdogan's alliance. Not only is the CHP the traditional party of the Turkish army, which carried out three bloody NATO-backed coups in the 20th century, but it refrained from criticizing the role of Washington and Berlin in organizing the failed 2016 coup attempt targeting Erdogan.

The vote is one of the most divisive elections In Turkey's modern history and was marred by violence, with two members of the Islamic Felicity Party shot dead, a party spokesman said. He framed the local elections as a matter of "national survival", accusing opposition parties of links to terrorism and blaming inflation on foreign powers seeking to undermine the country.

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