Erdogan loses key cities as Turkey feels the sting of recession

Posted April 02, 2019

The lira overnight swap rate in London meanwhile soared to 400 percent from around 200 percent - well off the 1,200 percent to which it rocketed last Wednesday as the lira came under renewed pressure in the run up the vote.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said that his AK Party had lost some cities in Sunday's mayoral elections, and pledged that his government would now focus on implementing strong economic plans.

In Istanbul, former prime minister Binali Yildirim clinched a hard victory with 50 percent of votes against 48 percent for his opponent Ekrem Imamoglu, who also claimed wining the race.

According to unofficial results by the state-run Anadolu news agency, Mansur Yavas, the main opposition's candidate, won 50.9 per cent of the votes in Ankara, bringing an end to 25 years of administration by the AKP and its Islamic-oriented predecessor.

Meanwhile, the race in Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, remained too close to call.

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The mayoral candidate for Istanbul from Turkey's ruling party admitted on Monday that his main opposition rival was taking the lead with a margin of 25,000 votes.

Dawson urged the Turkish government to respect the election results. In Istanbul, the CHP was almost 28,000 votes ahead as the last votes were being counted. Election campaigns are a chance for Mr Erdogan to travel across his vast country, showcasing the populist genius that has kept him at the top of Turkish politics for 16 years.

Imamoglu said in a later press conference that he won the race by more than 29,000 votes.

"I am afraid we.are not fully convinced that Turkey now has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles", said Andrew Dawson.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate from an alliance led by the secular Republican People's Party, thanked all Istanbul voters on Monday.

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Rallying his base among more religiously conservative Turks, Erdogan had presented his opponents as enemies of the state, tarnishing them as tied to Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who have fought a decades-long insurgency.

Central Bank "backdoor tightening" over the last week to prevent a repeat of last year's lira crisis, when the currency fell 30 percent, "did not really increase confidence in their policy making", Leuchtmann said.

"Every gain and every loss is the will of our people and also a requirement of democracy that should be acknowledged", Erdoğan said in Istanbul before flying to Ankara.

Erdogan has also indicated that he is planning to intensify military operations targeting Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria, where the Turkish bourgeoisie fears that US-backed Kurdish militias could set up an independent Kurdish state and win support from Kurds inside Turkey itself. In addition to Ankara, Mediterranean tourism hub Antalya, coastal province Adana and port hub Mersin looked headed for opposition control, with candidates allied to the CHP defeating incumbent mayors from one of two parties in Erdogan's alliance. Inflation is in double digits, and foreign currency debt payments are high.

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