World: Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo - PressFrom - US
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WorldTurkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo

04:31  24 june  2019
04:31  24 june  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

Istanbul candidates clash on TV before election test for Erdogan

Istanbul candidates clash on TV before election test for Erdogan Istanbul's mayoral candidates argued over the election they contested in March in a rare televised debate on Sunday, a week before a re-run vote seen as a test of Turkish democracy and the reach of President Tayyip Erdogan's AK party. In the first televised debate of its kind in the country in nearly two decades, AKP candidate Binali Yildirim faced the main opposition's Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the initial vote in March but was ousted from city hall when the result was annulled in May.

Voters in Istanbul return to the polls for the second time in three months on Sunday after the ruling party forced a redo of the mayoral election , hoping to reverse a stinging defeat and recapture Turkey ’ s largest city.

Embarrassment for president as AKP lose Istanbul to CHP party’ s Ekrem İmamoğlu.

Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo
Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo
Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo
Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey suffered the biggest defeat of his political career on Sunday as his candidate for Istanbul mayor conceded defeat in a repeat election.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party suffered major setbacks in local elections this weekend after dominating the country’s political system sin The AK Party lost control in both of Turkey ’ s largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, and is now disputing the results.

ISTANBUL — Turkey ’ s election board announced Monday that it was invalidating the results of Istanbul ’s mayoral race, which had dealt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party a stinging defeat . A new election will be held late next month, the board said.

The result wrests control over Turkey’s largest city from Mr. Erdogan and ends his party’s 25-year dominance there. Opponents say such a loss cracks the president’s aura of invincibility, showing that his grip on power after 16 years is weakening.

The defeat also puts Mr. Erdogan in a diminished position at a time of tense relations with the United States and other countries as he heads to the Group of 20 summit meeting next week, where he is planning to have talks on the sidelines with President Trump to address various disagreements.

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The Istanbul race is personal for Erdoğan. The result could transform Turkey

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ISTANBUL - Standing on a white campaign bus heading into Sunday’ s repeat election , Istanbul He narrowly defeated former Prime Minister Benali Yildirim, the candidate of President Recep Tayyip His campaign for the redo election galvanized his supporters, who flocked to daily rallies in Istanbul .

Turkey ' s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had suffered a humiliating defeat in the vote and pressured the Supreme Electoral Council into nullifying the vote. His ruling AK party won the local elections overall, but lost key mayoral polls in Istanbul and Ankara. His party then challenged the

Two hours after polls closed, Mr. Erdogan’s preferred candidate, Binali Yildirim, conceded defeat on national television. Mr. Erdogan acknowledged the result an hour later.

“The national will was manifested today one more time,” the Turkish president said on Twitter. Referring to the opposition candidate, he wrote, “I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the election, according to unofficial results.”

The ANKA news agency reported that with all votes counted, Mr. Imamoglu led with 54 percent, compared with 45 percent for Mr. Yildirim. The semiofficial Anadolu Agency showed a similar result with 99 percent of the votes counted.

“As of now, my competitor Imamoglu is leading,” Mr. Yildirim said in his concession speech on television. “I congratulate him, wish him success. I wish our friend Ekrem Imamoglu will bring good services to Istanbul.”

Officials from the main opposition party, the People’s Republican Party, said they did not expect Mr. Erdogan’s party to challenge the result at the High Election Council because Mr. Yildirim had conceded so early.

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+ Just weeks after the opposition candidate won Istanbul ’s mayoral election , the results are being scrapped and the vote rescheduled after allegations of electoral fraud in Turkey . But opposition leaders and international bodies are calling the move a blow to Turkey ’ s democracy.

ANKARA/ ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Investors could snap up sold-off Turkish assets or dump them with force depending on the outcome of Sunday’ s re-run election in Istanbul and, days later, a high-stakes meeting between President Tayyip Erdogan and his U. S . counterpart Donald Trump.

Appearing at a news conference on Sunday evening, Mr. Imamoglu said that “16 million Istanbul residents refreshed our belief in democracy and confidence in justice.”

He also called on Mr. Erdogan to work with him. “I am ready to work with you in harmony,” Mr. Imamoglu said. “I put myself up for that, and I announce this in front of all Istanbul people.”

Mr. Imamoglu won the first vote in the mayoral race, on March 31, by a small margin. But Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., contested the results, and the High Election Council ordered the do-over.

In addition to acknowledging Sunday’s result on Twitter, Mr. Erdogan, in other Twitter posts, sought to move the agenda beyond the election, saying he would be attending to foreign and domestic issues at the Group of 20 summit meeting, which will be in Osaka, Japan, and during a meeting with China, and at a South European and Balkans summit meeting.

He told international journalists last week that he thought his rapport with Mr. Trump should be enough to ease a disagreement over his purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system — and possibly avoid sanctions. But this election result could well change the dynamics of that meeting.

Opposition win in Istanbul a blow to Turkey's Erdogan

Opposition win in Istanbul a blow to Turkey's Erdogan The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win Sunday in a closely watched repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke the long hold President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party had on leading Turkey's largest city. 

ISTANBUL (AP) — Standing on a white campaign bus heading into Sunday' s repeat election , Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu shouted to He narrowly defeated former Prime Minister Benali Yildirim, the candidate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan' s Justice and Development Party, in the

Local elections around Turkey on 31 March showed the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained the most popular overall, but it suffered a shock defeat in Istanbul and lost the capital Ankara. File image of Turkey ' s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The mood had been tense in Istanbul during the day as people voted. But later, opposition supporters whistled as they caught the results on their cellphones at outdoor cafes. A car raced through the streets, honking its horn as if celebrating after a soccer match.

Mr. Imamoglu himself celebrated late Sunday night before a huge crowd in the park of his home district, Beylikduzu, where he has served as mayor for the past five years. Families were out with small children, and groups broke out in dancing.

“We will build democracy in the city, we will build justice,” Mr. Imamoglu said. “Nobody’s lifestyle and how they dress is a concern for us. We came to embrace everyone.”

“I thank the president and my opponent who congratulated me,” he said. “We will make the nation embrace each other. We will succeed in this despite everything.”

The vote “shows democracy is resilient and elections still matter,” said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Imamoglu won with a landslide — a 10-point lead — even though Erdogan mobilized all the state resources in this election.”

While Mr. Erdogan has acquired sweeping powers under a new presidential system and controls all of the levers of power, a degree of democracy has remained as he has always sought legitimacy through the ballot box and assured citizens of the integrity of the process.

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ANKARA/ ISTANBUL , June 22 (Reuters) - Investors could snap up sold-off Turkish assets or dump them with force depending on the outcome of Sunday’ s On Thursday Erdogan told foreign reporters in Istanbul that he would ask Trump whether he thought such sanctions were suitable, adding: “I

The decision by Turkish authorities to wipe away a stinging defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and rerun the election for mayor of Istanbul left the opposition angered but determined on Tuesday to win the race a second time.

Mr. Imamoglu, 49, was backed by an alliance of opposition parties, united by their rejection of Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian grip on Turkey.

Besides the blow to Mr. Erdogan’s image and prestige, the loss of Istanbul has practical political consequences for him, analysts said. The city is Mr. Erdogan’s home and political base, where he began his political career as mayor.

“Losing Istanbul would mean losing a significant revenue source for A.K.P.’s political machinery, ranging from subsidies to the party faithful to construction contracts and funds for pro-government media,” Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow with the European Council for Foreign Relations, said before the vote.

“It would set off a chain reaction that can herald early elections later this year or in 2020,” she said.

Former President Abdullah Gul and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are both committed to breaking away and starting their own conservative movements, Ms. Aydintasbas said.

Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the Ankara director for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a research organization, predicted before the election that the A.K.P. would grudgingly accept the results. But he said the party would seek to manage the change of power in Istanbul by “hollowing out the powers of metropolitan mayors in time.”

Mr. Erdogan grew up in a working-class district on the Golden Horn in Istanbul and embarked on his political career as a popular and energetic mayor of the city in the 1990s.

The city has remained in the hands of his party ever since, and he transformed it with extensive infrastructure projects and grandiose signature constructions, including a vast hilltop mosque, high-rise towers and expanding suburbs.

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ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confronted the prospect of a stunning political defeat on Monday, as local voting in Turkey showed his President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after voting in municipal elections in Istanbul on Sunday. CreditBulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

The party of Turkey ' s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost control of the capital, Ankara, in local elections , in a blow to his 16-year rule. The main opposition is also slightly ahead in the contest for mayor of Istanbul , figures published by the state-run Anadolu news agency suggest.

But Mr. Erdogan’s popularity in Istanbul, which derived largely from delivering services to city residents, has waned in recent years as the construction boom has stalled and the economy has slipped into recession, although growth rebounded somewhat earlier this year.

Unemployment and inflation have angered Turkish voters and cost Mr. Erdogan several of the largest cities, including the capital, Ankara, in local elections in March.

“Erdogan lost his magic touch,” said Mr. Cagaptay, the analyst. “Erdogan was this politician who came from the other side of the tracks, representing the voice of the common man, the pious, the dispossessed, making this his brand for nearly two decades. That is gone.”

Mr. Imamoglu has been compared to a young Mr. Erdogan because he comes from the same Black Sea region known for its fighting spirit, and for his personable and energetic attitude. He won voters’ support by offering a clean and all-embracing administration, tapping into a general weariness with the governing party and complaints of corruption and cronyism.

He promised that municipal workers’ jobs would be secure and that his administration would be nonpartisan.

“Nothing sticks to Imamoglu,” Mr. Cagaptay said. “He became the new Erdogan.”

Mr. Yildirim has been a close ally of Mr. Erdogan’s throughout his career, holding posts like transportation minister and prime minister and, most recently, president of Parliament. He had seemed a reluctant candidate in the March campaign, but after the shock of losing, he adopted a new campaign style, meeting people on squares and in neighborhoods, and emphasizing his years of experience and knowledge.

The opposition faced an uneven playing field throughout both mayoral campaigns, with Mr. Erdogan maintaining control over the mainstream news media and blatantly using government and municipal resources to support his candidate.

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Just days before a high stakes rerun of an Istanbul mayoral election , the Turkish president appeared relaxed as he insisted a poll putting his ruling party eight points behind in the Analysts caution that it would be premature to predict Mr Erdogan’ s demise even if he suffers a fresh defeat in Sunday’ s vote.

A week before the election, the two candidates faced off in a live television debate — the first Turkey had witnessed in 17 years — though it did not seem to tip the balance definitively. Mr. Imamoglu remained narrowly ahead in the polls.

Tensions rose in the final days before Sunday’s vote as Mr. Erdogan excoriated the opposition candidate while never uttering his name, and blasted the Republican People’s Party as undemocratic and the source of years of discrimination against religiously conservative citizens.

“What we have been having since March is a psychological war,” Ilayda Kocoglu, a spokeswoman for the Imamoglu campaign, said ahead of Sunday’s vote.

On Thursday night, Mr. Erdogan ramped up the pressure, warning that even if the opposition candidate won the mayorship, legal action could remove him from office for an insult that Mr. Imamoglu allegedly made to a regional governor during a recent argument.

“If the justice decides, his mayorship will be revoked,” Mr. Erdogan said in a live television interview on Thursday night. Mr. Imamoglu has denied uttering any insult.

Both of the main campaigns fielded ranks of lawyers to watch the voting at every ballot box across the municipality. Opposition lawyers went through exhaustive training in the weeks before the election and were told to avoid arguments over the ballot box but to make written objections for every irregularity.

Lawyers from both campaigns said they had agreed on new lists of polling station officials, all certified public officials, to prevent a repeat of the accusations that caused the March 31 election to be annulled.

Follow Carlotta Gall on Twitter: @carlottagall

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