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Erdogan's ruling party loses Istanbul election in major blow to Turkish president

Erdogan's ruling party loses Istanbul election in major blow to Turkish presidentThe winner of the re-rerun of Istanbul's mayoral elections declared a "new beginning for Turkey" on Sunday after the ruling party's candidate lost the city for the first time in 25 years, in a major blow to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "It was not a single group or party, but the whole of Istanbul and Turkey that won this election," said Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), who received 54 per cent of the vote.  President Erdogan had claimed that "whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey" – and had taken a gamble by forcing a re-run that backfired after Mr Imamoglu not only won but increased his share of the vote by six per cent.  Binali Yildirim, the Erdogan loyalist standing for the ruling AKP gave a de facto concession speech shortly after the first results were announced. "I congratulate him and wish him all the luck. My wish is for Imamoglu to serve Istanbul well," he said.   Mr Imamoglu had won the original mayoral election on March 31 by a narrow margin that prompted the AKP to demand a re-run, citing alleged voting irregularities. The High Election Board's decision to grant that request drew criticism from Turkey's Western allies and from Mr Erdogan's opponents at home, stirring concerns about the rule of law and raising the stakes in a re-run that many Turks saw as a test of their country's democracy. Mr Erdogan was Istanbul's mayor in the 1990s before he embarked on a national political career, dominating Turkish politics first as prime minister, then as president. Supporters of Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, in Istanbul, Turkey,  He presided over years of strong economic growth but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of dissent. If confirmed, this second defeat in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city and commercial hub, will be a major embarrassment for the president and could also weaken what until recently seemed to be his iron grip on power. Analysts say the loss could set off a cabinet reshuffle in Ankara and adjustments to foreign policy. Turkey is balancing diplomatic relations with Russia and the United States, which has threatened sanctions against its NATO ally over its purchase of Russian missile defences. The setback for Erdogan, who campaigned hard in Istanbul, could also trigger a national election earlier than 2023 as scheduled. Turkey's economy is now in recession and the United States, its Nato ally, has threatened sanctions if Mr Erdogan goes ahead with plans to install Russian missile defences. The uncertainty over the fate of Istanbul, Turkey's business hub, and potential delays in broader economic reforms, have kept financial markets on edge. Turkey's lira currency tumbled after the decision to annul the March vote and is down nearly 10 per cent this year in part on election jitters. Polling stations across Istanbul opened at 8am, with 10.56 million people registered to vote in a city which makes up nearly a fifth of Turkey's 82 million population. One voter, Estate agent Bayram, 60, said he voted for Mr Yildirim, as he believed foreign powers the United States, Europe and Israel supported the opposition. "All of these will want a piece from Istanbul and then there will be chaos. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. All these foreign powers don't like Erdogan, so he is my friend," he said after voting in Kagithane district, an AKP stronghold.



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Erdogan's party to demand total recount of Istanbul ballots

Erdogan's party to demand total recount of Istanbul ballotsTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party said Sunday it had asked for a recount of all ballots cast in Istanbul, the country’s economic capital, during last week’s mayoral election after an opposition candidate claimed a slender win. The vice-president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ali Ihsan Yavuz made the demand for a recount going beyond one already under way. The AKP won most votes nationwide in last Sunday’s election, but results showed the ruling party lost Ankara and was also narrowly defeated in Istanbul in what would be one of their worst setbacks in a decade and a half in power.



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Erdogan's AK Party appeals for annulment of Istanbul local elections: Haberturk

Erdogan's AK Party appeals for annulment of Istanbul local elections: HaberturkTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) has appealed to annul local elections in Istanbul, broadcaster Haberturk said on its website on Friday, after initial results showed the opposition won a narrow victory in the city. Haberturk, without citing sources, said the AKP office in Istanbul’s Buyukcekmece district had appealed to the provincial electoral office to annul the vote across the city due to what it said was illegal voter registrations in the district.



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Turkey recounts Istanbul votes after Erdogan's party appeals loss

Turkey recounts Istanbul votes after Erdogan's party appeals lossTurkish electoral authorities on Wednesday recounted votes in more than a dozen Istanbul districts after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP challenged results giving the opposition a narrow victory in a weekend election. The AKP won most votes nationwide in Sunday’s municipal ballot, but tallies also showed the party lost the capital Ankara and the country’s economic hub Istanbul in one of its worst setbacks in a decade and a half in power. AKP officials on Tuesday filed a challenge with electoral authorities saying they had found irregularities in ballots in both Ankara and Istanbul.



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Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big cities

Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big citiesErdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years thanks in part to strong economic growth, has become the country’s most popular, yet also most divisive, modern leader. With the economy contracting following a currency crisis last year in which the lira lost more than 30 percent of its value, some voters appeared ready to punish Erdogan, who has ruled with an increasingly uncompromising stance. Everyone is struggling,” said 47-year-old Hakan after voting in Ankara.



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Turkey detains students after Erdogan's 'terrorist' rebuke

Turkey detains students after Erdogan's 'terrorist' rebukeTurkish police on Sunday were holding seven students from a prestigious Istanbul university after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused them of behaving like “terrorists” for staging an action opposing his military campaign in Syria. Police stormed a students’ dormitory and a house at Bogazici University around dawn Sunday and detained three students — two men and one woman, lawyer Inayet Aksu told AFP.



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Turks vote in historic referendum on expanding Erdogan's power

Turks vote in historic referendum on expanding Erdogan's powerBy Tuvan Gumrukcu ANKARA (Reuters) – Turks vote in a hotly contested referendum on Sunday that could place sweeping new powers in the hands of President Tayyip Erdogan and herald the most radical change to the country’s political system in its modern history. Opinion polls have given a narrow lead for a “Yes” vote, which would replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency and may see Erdogan in office until at least 2029. The outcome will also shape Turkey’s strained relations with the European Union.



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