Triumph for the opposition is demonstrated by the results of the municipal elections in Turkey, which managed to win the three major cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, marking a major reversal as for the first time since 2002 the Republican Party wins in the territory with a percentage of expected to reach 40%.

On the contrary, the result is a heavy defeat for the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made the recovery of Istanbul a personal bet.

An important point to emerge from these elections is the fact that the AKP is now the second party at the state level and the CHP the first. In the parliamentary elections, on May 14 last year, the picture was reversed, the AKP was first with a percentage of 36.30% and the CHR second with 25.80%

With 72.43% of the votes counted, Imamoglu received 50.37%, while Murat Kurum, the candidate from President Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP Party, received 40.90%.

“According to the data we have collected, it seems that our citizens’ trust in us, their faith in us has paid off,” Imamoglu said of the early results.

The same victory scene is observed in Ankara for the Republican Party with the difference exceeding 24 points between Mansur Yavas and Erdogan’s chosen Turgut Altinok.


In particular, Mansur Yavas, who made a statement announcing his victory, leads by a margin of more than 24 points with 58.79% to 47.73% of the counted votes against Turgut Altinok’s 33.30%. The current mayor of Ankara even announced his victory with a post on X.

In Izmir, the CHP maintains the leadership of the city, with Cemil Tougay gathering 48.22% and Hamza Dag (AKP) on 37.07%, with integration at 66.35.

Turnout was around 76%, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Some 594,000 security personnel were on duty across the country to ensure that voting went smoothly.

The next day for Erdogan

Istanbul, with its 16 million inhabitants officially, perhaps as many as 20 million unofficially, is larger in population than 131 countries in the world, produces 30 to 40% of Turkey’s GDP, manages a huge budget and owns the most expensive “fillets” of real estate in the country. The megacity would be an important “asset” for Erdogan to strengthen his power.

The political scene now the next day for Erdogan, after Imamoglu’s victory, is completely different, and the Turkish president will have to find ways to manage at the lowest possible cost.

Throughout his mayoral term and the election campaign, Imamoglu had to deal with the entire government apparatus, as well as the other opposition parties. The disparate alliance of the opposition parties in last year’s presidential elections was dissolved in its constituent parts and comes to these elections fragmented.

This means that Imamoglu managed to rally a wider audience than CHP voters, who are less than 30% in Istanbul. This audience is estimated to come mainly from Kurdish voters and young people and the right-wing Good Party of former interior minister Meral Aksener.

Analysts say the results likely partly reflect economic pressure from near-70% inflation, with disgruntled Kurdish and Islamist voters voting against the AKP.

The result is expected to shape in many ways the political future of Turkey with the first bet for Ekrem Imamoglu to be able to regroup the opposition against Erdogan and claim the presidency of the country in the next elections in 2028.

The stakes for who would win Istanbul, analysts say, both practical and symbolic, were high. At a first reading, it seems that a defeat for the ruling party will be an obstacle for Erdogan to consolidate his authoritarian and Islamist rule.

At the same time, the secular opposition has the opportunity to gather its forces, and challenge in the future with the presidential elections of 2028 the current governing bloc and the consolidation of an increasingly Islamized and authoritarian system.

Imamoglu’s dominance makes him the only politician of the last quarter of a century who was able to beat Erdogan.

As the mayor of Istanbul and an opposition figure, Imamoglu is now arguably the main obstacle to Erdogan changing the constitution to extend his rule.