Istanbul celebrates Ekrem Imamoglu's election victory

Istanbul celebrates Ekrem Imamoglu's election victory

After the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu's victory in the Istanbul elections, many citizens took to the street to celebrate the new mayor. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan already sent his congratulations to Imamoglu. "I wish that the results of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality election will be beneficial for our Istanbul," he tweeted. "National will has manifested once again today. I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the election, according to the preliminary results," the Turkish leader wrote.

The turnout in the election was 84.5%, according to the Turkish CEC. CHP's candidate Imamoglu received 54.21% of votes, while Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yildirim received about 44.99%. TASS reported.

Ruling AK Party's candidate Binali Yildirim also congratulated Ekrem Imamoglu on election lead, saying that the election showed that Turkey's democracy is functioning perfectly.

Imamoglu narrowly won office as Istanbul mayor on March 31 with 13,000 votes, having received 48.8% of the votes, while Yıldırım got 48.55%, according to official figures from the YSK. Imamoglu served for 18 days before his certificate of election was revoked. Turkey’s electoral board annulled the results on grounds that there were polling clerks who were not civil servants after the AKP claimed there were corruption and irregularities in the vote-counting process.

Professor at Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University Togrul İsmayil, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Imamoglu’s repeated landslide victory in the Istanbul mayoral election is a triumph of democracy. "This is direct evidence of the democratic election process in Turkey, all the predictions and expectations of fraud were not confirmed. The Turkish elections have always been democratic. I think Imamoglu’s victory should be considered a triumph of Turkish democracy and the readiness of the Turkish people to adhere to their  opinions," he explained.

The political scientist noted that Imamoglu's victory does not mean that Istanbul is going under the control of the opposition. "Yes, a representative of the opposition Republican People's Party has become the head of the municipality, but the coalition of the Justice and Development Party and the National Movement Party still have the majority in the municipal Majlis," Togrul İsmayil stressed..

"The outcome of this election, Imamoglu's landslide victory show that there's no doubt who the Istanbul residents see as their mayor. The Justice and Development Party and even Erdogan recognized the election results the day before," the professor at Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University said.

The head of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies, Yuri Mavashev, in turn, told about Istanbul in the last days before the elections. "Imamoglu managed to mobilize Istanbul citizens. There were a lot of people wearing Imamoglu T-shirts on the streets of Istanbul, and it was clear that this was a self-organization of ordinary people. People took to the streets and chanted Imamoglu’s most famous slogan 'Everything will be fine!' Hence, it felt like Imamoglu has strong support," he said.

"Previously, the poor strata of the population voted for the AKP (but Imamoglu managed to win them over, due to which he largely secured the victory), as well as intellectuals, but this time the ruling party lost their support. In fact, they speak not just about Yildirim’s defeat, but about the defeat of the ruling party and even of President Erdogan. Let me remind you that Erdogan personally campaigned for Yildyrym, but he still lost, and now it is perceived as a reputational damage," Yuri Mavashev stressed.

At the same time, the expert stressed that it will have no effect on Russian-Turkish relations. "Relations with Russia will remain a priority both for Imamoglu and for the CHP. I don’t see any signs indicating that Imamoglu is some kind of Western agent - he represents Ataturk’s party, which was building very positive ties with the Soviet Union," the  head of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies concluded.