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Could Imamoglu victory in Istanbul be 'beginning of the end' for Erdogan?

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By Euronews
Could Imamoglu victory in Istanbul be 'beginning of the end' for Erdogan?

An expert on Turkish politics has told Euronews that the AK Party's defeat in Istanbul's mayoral election could be the beginning of the end of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Atilla Yesada, Turkish Analyst for Global Source Partners told Good Morning Europe:

"It could be the beginning of the end of Erdogan if he doesn’t do two things: first, he needs to end the Turkish recession and end the crackdown on the opposition and oppression of the people

"The people have shown that they care about the state of the economy - Turkish growth was negative last year.

"Secondly, the stronghand tactics (in cancelling the result of the Istanbul election in March) didn’t appeal even to AK voters.

"The Turkish people may not have a full grasp of what democracy means, but they care deeply about fair elections and the sanctity of the ballot box.

When the first election was won by Ekrem Imamoglu from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the result was annulled shortly afterwards amid allegations of voting irregularities.

The initial win already represented a stunning loss, but the new result compounds the issue for Erdogan with his ally the former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim beaten by almost 10%.

Imamoglu told the crowds he was grateful for the peaceful nature of his victory:

“I want to thank each citizen of Istanbul. You have protected the reputation of Turkish democracy in the eyes of the world.”

Voters like Dursun Kuraoğlu give an indication of the reasons for Imamoglu’s emphatic. Kuraoğlu comes from a conservative background and used to vote for Erdogan’s AK Party:

“There are so many poor people in our city that they can’t even afford to buy tea or bread.

"That’s why I don’t think that Turkey is doing well: our country is not on the right path and the state of the economy is another example of this.”

Analysts have said the wider margin of victory for Imamoglu and the CHP in the re-run vote will mean a bigger role for them in Turkish politics.

Sinan Ulgen, Chairman of the Edam Think Tank, told Euronews it would make a big difference:

“It will certainly embolden the Turkish opposition now that they are also in control of Istanbul.

"It is the epicentre of the Turkish economy and the municipality also has a very large budget.”

AK Party supporter Onur Emir, who used to work for the former AK mayor in the capital, Ankara, said the state of the economy has hurt his party’s fortunes:

“It’s definitely a reaction, but it’s mostly attributed, I would say, to the economic hardships that we’re going through.

“Right now, there’s not one single piece of research, even from the opposition side, that shows that Erdogan himself is less popular.”

Dursun Kuraoğlu has said he believes Imamoglu will one day be president:

“Society love him so much. People regard him not just as a mayor of Istanbul, but as a future president of Turkey. “

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