The defeat of Turkey’s ruling AK Party in the rerun of Istanbul’s mayoral race could pave the way to early general elections and ultimately bring an end to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, a senior member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) told Euronews.
"Maybe an early election will take place. It is definitely a turning point for Turkey and Turkish democracy," CHP Representative to the EU Kader Sevinç said in an interview on Euronews Now.
"We are at the beginning of putting an end to Erdogan’s rule," she added, highlighting that all of Turkey’s major cities are now run by the opposition.
Ekrem Imamoglu of the secularist CHP secured 54.21% of votes in Istanbul's mayoral election on Sunday, according to the High Election Board - a far wider victory margin than his narrow win three months ago.
The AK Party had called for a rerun of the poll after it complained of voting irregularities last March. Imamoglu's win has now broken the decades-old grip of Erdogan's party on Turkey's largest city.
Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, first as prime minister and then as president, was the city’s mayor in the 1990s and has reportedly said in the past that "whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey". Erdogan congratulated Imamoglu for his victory and the AKP's candidate in Istanbul, Binali Yildirim, wished him luck as mayor shortly after polls closed.
"Let’s not forget it was a very, very unfair election… We had to deal with fake news, with government media and a lack of resources," Sevinç argued. "Despite all these disadvantages, he (Imamoglu) has won this election by a much wider margin. So it shows the determination of Turks for democracy."
Sevinç said she believed that nothing would be the same after this result, and that by 2023 – when the next general election is scheduled – Turkey would be a very different country.
You can watch the whole interview in the player above.