After Losing Istanbul, Erdogan's Grip on Turkey Will Never Be the Same

  • In World/Europe
  • 2019-07-05 21:12:00Z
  • By The National Interest

Mohammed Ayoob

Security, Middle East

Erdogan's days may not be numbered already but his grip on power will never be the same again.

After Losing Istanbul, Erdogan's Grip on Turkey Will Never Be the Same

It was some years ago that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan coined the saying "Those who win Istanbul, win Turkey." It was based among other things on his own political trajectory. Erdogan rose to national prominence with his election in the mid-1990s as the candidate of the then Islamist party, Refaah, as mayor of Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. His statement must have come to haunt him on June 23 when Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition CHP nominee, defeated his candidate for the mayor of Istanbul, Binali Yildirim, decisively. What has added insult to Erdogan's injury is the fact that Imamoglu garnered over 54 percent of the votes thus increasing his vote share by 6 percent compared to the March 31 result when he had barely managed to defeat former Prime Minister Yildirim with a very thin margin of fifteen thousand votes. The High Election Council under pressure from Erdogan and his party, the AKP, annulled the March 31 election results on flimsy technical grounds, a blatant tactic to deny the opposition control of Istanbul and its vast resources. It is clear that many of the ruling party supporters who were disgusted with these tactics switched their votes to Imamoglu this time, thus punishing Erdogan and his party for their subterfuge.

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