Turkey’s opposition looked poised to win control of the country’s two biggest cities yesterday as it dealt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative party one of its most serious electoral setbacks in years. The opposition won Ankara, a ruling party stronghold for decades, and was leading a tight race for mayor in Istanbul, according to unofficial figures yesterday.
The leader, who has dominated Turkish politics for 16 years, declared victory despite the opposition gains.
Sunday’s local elections were widely seen as a gauge of support for Erdogan as the nation of 81 million faces a daunting economic recession. They were also a first test for Erdogan – who has been accused of increasingly authoritarian tendencies – since he got widely expanded presidential powers last year.