Erdogan’s party, the AKP, lost a critical election for mayor of Istanbul several weeks ago. Because Istanbul is one of the most important centers of power in the country, Erdogan had the election results overturned and forced a re-run of the campaign in the hopes of getting a do-over.
Unsurprisingly, Erdogan’s party took a walloping this time around, and my bet it was due to people angry over what was a clear attempt to subvert democracy:
Turkey’s main opposition claimed a decisive victory on Sunday in Istanbul’s re-run election, dealing one of the biggest blows to President Tayyip Erdogan during his 16 years in power and promising a new beginning in the country’s largest city.
Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), was leading with 54% of votes versus 45% for Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) candidate, with more than 99% of ballots opened, Turkish broadcasters said.
The election was Istanbul’s second in three months after results of an initial March vote were scrapped, setting up the do-over as a test of Turks’ ability to check what many saw as their president’s increasingly authoritarian power.
Broadcasters put the CHP’s lead on Sunday at about 800,000 votes, eclipsing the roughly 13,000-vote margin in March.
“God willing, I would like to see (Imamoglu) as the president in five years’ time,” she said. “The one-man rule should come to an end. For the first time in a long time, I am very happy and proud for my country.”
Of course, this may not be the end of the story. Erdogan’s contempt for democracy is legendary, and he may decide to claim that the new mayor is a “Gulenist traitor” and just arrest and jail him (Gulenists are the Turkish version of Russian collusion). No one is really talking about this possibility yet in the mainstream media, but keep your eyes open for this.