Erdoğan's party loses Istanbul

Despite protests by the ruling AKP party, Turkey's electoral authority has officially declared that Ekrem İmamoğlu of the opposition CHP is mayor of Istanbul. İmamoğlu won the mayoral election at the end of March by a razor-thin majority, ahead of AKP candidate Binali Yıldırım. Erdoğan's party has called for a rerun of the vote. Not a good idea, commentators are convinced.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

AKP's risky game

The AKP could do the entire country a disservice in contesting the election result, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes:

“The party is running the risk not only of an embarrassing new defeat, but also of a Pyrrhic victory. Because if the margin is as narrow as it is now the next time round - but in favour of the AKP - the opposition will certainly dispute it too. That would only prolong the phase of political uncertainty. And then the whole country - which is already in the throes of recession with an unemployment rate of almost 15 percent - would lose out.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Rerun could backfire

The AKP should accept the result in Istanbul, says the Financial Times too:

“A forced rerun risks deepening tensions with the EU and the US at a time when ties are already under strain. It would also compound the deep problems facing the economy, which entered its first recession in a decade after last summer's meltdown in the Turkish lira. A new election could scare away vital overseas money. ... Then there is the question of whether the ruling party could win a second contest. ... The AKP's candidate, Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister, was rumoured to have never wanted the job and has shown little appetite for another election. The opposition, by contrast, is fired up.”

T24 (TR) /

Democracy is being revived

News website T24 is full of hope after the election victory of opposition candidate İmamoğlu:

“Just like Obama, İmamoğlu and his team have shown millions of people in Turkey that 'Yes we can'. While government representatives from Istanbul to Dubai spent their time at the million-dollar weddings of their supporters while lecturing the people that 'you can get by on the minimum wage by just eating three Turkish bagels a day', the opposition has been peacefully demonstrating shoulder to shoulder with the people for the re-establishment of democracy. In the coming days we may witness a development in which the AKP replaces its leaders (ministers included), rethinks its alliance with the [far-right] MHP and tries once again to shape a promising future for our country.”