Ruling AKP’s Yıldırım switches to previous, more popular Twitter account ahead of Istanbul revote

Ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım on Monday began to use his previous Twitter account as parliamentary speaker, which has a much larger following, in place of his account as Istanbul mayoral candidate. 

Yıldırım’s Twitter account as parliamentary speaker has 1.4 million followers compared to his account as Istanbul mayoral candidate which has a mere 249,000, lagging far behind his opposition rival Ekrem İmamoğlu.

İmamoğlu, a charismatic and soft-spoken candidate from main opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 2.5 million followers on Twitter.

İmamoğlu defeated Yıldırım by a narrow margin in the March 31 elections; however, the ruling AKP appealed the results, citing irregularities and fraud at the ballots. The Supreme Election Council (YSK) revoked Imamoglu's mandate and called a new election for June 23. 

Yıldırım in January resigned from his role as parliamentary speaker in the run up to the Istanbul mayoral race. 

The 48-year-old has been particularly successfully in utilising social media. His motto, #HerseyCokGuzelOlacak, “Everything will be fine,” inspired numerous impartial voices in Turkey to come out in support of the CHP candidate. 

İmamoğlu’s followers on Twitter reached 869,000 from 382,000 on the night of March 31 and the CHP candidate became the third top Twitter trend worldwide.