the opposition wins a historic victory

the opposition wins a historic victory

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hoped to see his party win the elections in Istanbul and Ankara. But the first results quickly suggested a tidal wave of opposition, even beyond the two largest Turkish cities.

5 mins

With our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer

The Turkish opposition won a large victory across the country on Sunday March 31 and retained Istanbul and Ankara, the country’s two largest cities. This is exactly the scenario that Recep Tayyip Erdogan feared: not only do the opposition mayors in Istanbul and Ankara win a second time against a candidate from power – what is more, by seizing the majority in the municipal council – but they increase their score compared to 2019. And this, even though these mayors were only supported by their party, the CHP. Five years ago, they were elected thanks to an alliance of opposition parties.

In other words: Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces two rivals capable of bringing together the votes of the opposition in the broad sense and whose popularity rivals his own. This is particularly true with regard to the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, for whom a national destiny could have opened on Sunday evening, four years before the next presidential election.

A turning point “, concedes Erdogan

The proclamation of the final results by the High Electoral Commission (YSK) expected during the day on Monday will confirm these results, already integrated by the main stakeholders, including the Head of State. Late in the evening, around 1 a.m. local time, President Erdogan conceded a “ turning » for his camp. “ Unfortunately, we did not get the results we wanted “, declared the head of state, who spoke at the headquarters of his party, the AKP, in Ankara, in front of an unusually silent crowd. “ We will not disrespect the decision of our Nation, we will avoid being stubborn, acting against the national will and questioning the power of the Nation “, he clarified.

The atmosphere is therefore joyful and resolutely confident this Sunday evening at the CHP headquarters. Broad smiles are visible on the faces of party officials. The opposition mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, announced his re-election. “ We are in first position with a lead of more than a million votes (…) We won the election “, he declared to the press, specifying that these results concerned 96% of the ballot boxes.

He is a unifying politician, he has a vision, I see him as President of the Republic in a few years. Insh’Allah, if this happens, our country will finally experience democracy and respect for human rights.

Report in front of the CHP headquarters: for the opposition, the reconquest of power began on March 31

At the CHP, we are all the more satisfied as victory is also assured in the capital, Ankara. Outgoing opposition mayor Mansur Yavas appears well ahead to very comfortably win a second term. He also claimed victory. “ The elections are over, we will continue to serve Ankara and [ses] six million inhabitants without discrimination », promised the elected representative of the social democratic party.

The voters chose to change the face of the Türkiye » after 22 years of domination by the Islamo-conservative AKP party, Ozgur Ozel, the leader of the CHP, said on Sunday on the evening of the municipal elections. “ They wanted to open the door to a new political climate in our country “, he noted.

“Ten months ago, we lost. This is why all eyes are on Imamoglu. This is the opposition’s last hope. If he loses in Istanbul, the opposition could well not win anything for 50 years.

Report from a polling station in Istanbul

Anne Andlauer

Great silence, however, for the moment from the AKP, the ruling party. Some of its strongholds such as Bursa, the 4th largest Turkish city, joined Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir in the opposition camp on Sunday. Balikesir, Denizli or even Afyonkarahisar could go to the opposition. If we look at the entire map, it is the entire Aegean region, the interior provinces and not just the coasts which appear to be tilting towards the opposition side. From the point of view of Recep Tayyip Erdogan , the results are indeed a bitter disappointment, but also a source of concern for the future of his party, the AKP, whose scores deteriorate from one election to the next.

It’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fault. He has been in power for 20 years but he has failed to make the right choice of candidate!

Mücahit, a 21-year-old voter for the Turkish president

Anne Andlauer


The vote was marked by violence across the country, leaving at least three dead. In the southeast of the country, clashes took place between people armed with guns, sticks and stones and left one dead and 11 injured. In another incident, a candidate was killed and four other people were injured in clashes, according to state news agency Anadolu.

In Sanliurfa (southeast), 16 people were injured, according to Anadolu, another candidate was stabbed in the west of the country and one person was shot dead and two others were injured overnight in Bursa ( North West).

The pro-Kurdish party DEM, arch-favorite in many localities in the region, says it has identified irregularities “ in almost all Kurdish provinces “. He notably denounced the suspicious registration, according to him, of several tens of thousands of members of the police on the electoral lists of the Kurdish regions. A delegation of observers from France was even refused access to a polling station in the region, according to the MLSA lawyers’ association.

Read alsoTurkey: Ekrem Imamoglu wants to establish himself as the future leader of the main opposition party