Jun 23 2019

AKP's Yıldırım concedes defeat in Istanbul rerun

(Updates)

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s Binali Yıldırım has conceded defeat to his main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) rival, Ekrem İmamoğlu, in the crucial Istanbul mayoral election rerun.


  • AKP leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated İmamoğlu, who leads the Istanbul mayoral revote according to unofficial results, over his victory on Twitter. "The nation’s will has once again manifest itself today,’’ the Turkish president said.

    Erdoğan added that the ruling AKP would continue to strive toward its 2023 goals while maintaining the principles of the People's Alliance, formed with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
     
  • The leader of opposition nationalist Good (İYİ) Party Meral Akşener released a statement on İmamoğlu’s pending victory, stating the people of Turkey had responded to the"ballot coup" of the country’s Supreme Election Council (YSK). "Our glorious nation has responded with maturity and resolve to the May 6 ballot coup,’’ Akşener said, referring to the council’s decision to annul the initial March 31 Istanbul mayoral vote.
     
  • Temel Karamollaoğlu, the leader of opposition Islamist Felicty (Saadet) Party also weighed in on the Istanbul revote. "The will of our people has manifested itself. It is our obligation to respect this decision,’’ Karamollaoğlu said on Twitter. The Islamist party’s leader also wished for the Istanbul revote to bring unity among the 82 million people of Turkey.
     
  • AKP-ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also released a written statement, in which he said İmamoğlu’s lead in the Istanbul revote did not change MHP’s view of the June 23 election. The results will not ‘’affect our confident belief on the side of truth,’’ Bahçeli said, noting that the MHP alliance with the ruling AKP would remain in effect.
     
  • CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu took to Twitter following İmamoğlu's lead, according to unofficial results. "We had said that everything was going to be fine and it is!" the CHP leader said, referencing to İmamoğlu's campaign slogan.
     
  • The co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) Sezai Temelli also congratulated İmamoğlu on his victory. “I would like to thank the 16 million Istanbulites who took part in this election. I would like to, once gain, thank the HDP voters and the Kurdish people,” Temelli said.
     
  • After the first vote on March 31, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was adamant that the AKP had won Istanbul despite losing the mayoral vote since it controlled a majority of districts. This time, Anadolu Agency's map of the initial votes shows a sea of red Nation Alliance majority districts, with the AKP's Yıldırım winning a majority of the vote in just 11 of 39 districts. 

  • The AKP's losses are least pronounced in the city's outlying and poorer districts, and grow more significant closer to the city centre.
     
    districts
    Source: Anadolu Agency
  • The CHP's Ekrem İmamoğlu has stepped up to give his victory speech, after achieving a landslide victory over his ruling party rival. 
    İmamoğlu called on observers to remain with the ballot boxes until the counting process was complete. The CHP candidate thanked the people of Istanbul for protecting the democratic dignity of Turkey before the whole world.

    ‘’The era of extravagance and arrogance has come to an end,’’ the CHP candidate said, before thanking the 16 million residents of Istanbul, naming Kurds, Circassians, Assyrian,  youth, women, the election campaign directors, social media team and hundreds of volunteers and police.

    ‘’The whole of Turkey and Istanbul won this election,’’ he said. ‘’Soon you will see that everyone will feel this way. I will work indiscriminately to this end.’’

    "I am not about to lead this city alone,’’ İmamoğlu said, adding that parties are not sacred structures, but vehicles of service. ‘’Party leaders are not sacred, either, and they are not above the people,’’ he said.
     
  • The initial results show İmamoğlu to have gained significant leads in districts across the city, including several highly symbolic districts - such as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's childhood home district of Beyoğlu - and conservative districts that usually heavily favour the AKP. 
    Üsküdar – İmamoğlu 54.1 percent
    Fatih – İmamoğlu 49.1 percent
    Eyüp – İmamoğlu 53.9 percent
    Beyoğlu – İmamoğlu 51.4 percent
     
  • Anadolu Agency has announced its first unofficial results, which put İmamoğlu over 8 percent ahead of Yıldırım. The result means the CHP candidate has increased his lead from around 12,000 in the first race to over 800,000 in the rerun.  
  • Before Anadolu disclosed a single result, Binali Yıldırım has come forward to concede defeat to İmamoğlu. 
    "The Supreme Election Council has lifted its embargo. At this time results show my rival Ekrem İmamoğlu in the lead. I congratulate him and wish him success", Yıldırım said. 

    "These elections have made it clear in the best possible way that democracy works flawlessly in Turkey. I pray to God that these results will bring Istanbul good memories. From now on, I entrust our friend Ekrem İmamoğülu to serve Istanbul well. We will aid him in his work, I want this to be known", he said.  
  • With Anadolu's announcement of results yet to come, ANKA has continued to rapidly update results. The agency's latest announcement at around 7:10 p.m. puts İmamoğlu ahead by over 500,000 votes and more than 10 percent with nearly 60 percent of votes counted.
     
  • Ekrem İmamoğlu holds a lead of more than 10 percent over Binali Yıldırım with over half of the votes counted, ANKA has announced via Twitter.

    The agency shows İmamoğlu in the lead with 54.64 percent - 2,687,829 votes - to Yıldırım's 44.33 percent, or 2,180,556 votes.   
  • The CHP's Istanbul headquarters is packed with press, including foreign reporters, and party volunteers appear "happy with the results that have reached them so far", BBC Türkçe's Mahmut Hamsici reported at 6:29 p.m. local time (GMT+2).
     
  • The other agency reporting results, the state-run Anadolu Agency, has announced that it will begin disclosing results at 7:30 p.m. (GMT+2).
  • ANKA, one of two news agencies reporting results of the vote, has disclosed its first figures, showing one candidate over 12 percent in the lead after 13.69 percent of votes have been counted. 

    An ongoing press embargo prevents the agency from revealing which candidate is in the lead.   
  • Police detained a number of people after a group of AKP supporters attacked CHP supporters in İstanbul’s Şişli district, calling them “traitors,’’ Diken news site reported. The incident took place at the Mustafa Sarıgül Primary School and those involved in the attack were escorted out of the school by police, it said. 

 

  • CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has made his first statement after the vote, repeating İmamoğlu's slogan: "You'll see, everything is going to be just fine".
     
  • (Update) Secularist daily Cumhuriyet reports that 111 people face legal action for breaching the law at the polls. Photographing the ballot paper was the most common infringement, recorded 43 times, while 22 people face repercussions for arguing at polling stations. Seven people have been detained for wearing clothing bearing political messages, shouting slogans at polling stations or alcohol-related charges, the rest were released after giving statements.

    Left-wing nationalist outlet Ulusal Kanal reported at 5:47 p.m. that the number had risen to 124.
     
  • The head of the Istanbul provincial electoral board, Ziya Bülent Öner, is receiving treatment in hospital after suffering a heart spasm on Saturday night, and his duties for today's vote have been taken over by ranking board member Nilgün Uçar, left-wing daily BirGün reported.
     
  • 5 p.m., and polling stations are officially closed in Istanbul. Voters and politicians are in for a tense night as counts begin.
     
  • Yıldırım has urged voters and observers not to abandon ballot boxes – a call usually made by opposition politicians.  

    Kıymetli müşahit kardeşlerim, görevinizi lâyıkıyla yapacağınızdan hiç şüphem yok. Son ana kadar oylarımıza sahip çıkalım, sandıkları terketmeyelim. Sizlere güvenim tam! Hepinize teşekkür ediyorum. 🇹🇷

    — Binali Yıldırım (@BY) June 23, 2019
     
  • The Supreme Election Council (YSK) has accepted an application by the AKP and CHP for ballots stamped with the incorrect seal from last year's parliamentary election to be counted as valid, as well as unstamped ballots and those stamped multiple times.

    The decision arrived after the YSK met for a two-hour meeting on Sunday to evaluate the request from both parties.
     
  • High-profile political figures have been among the millions to cast their votes so far, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing his regret that the city has to head to the ballot boxes to select a mayor for the second time this year.

    After İmamoğlu won the first vote on March 31, the AKP appealed to the YSK claiming serious irregularities had taken place. The electoral board ruled to annul the election on May 6 and hold the rerun on June 23.

 

  • Veteran Turkish journalist Fehmi Koru on Sunday told T24 that a new political party would be established under the leadership of former Economy Minister Ali Babacan. Koru said former president and AKP founding member Abdullah Gül would also join the new party.

 

  • Bekir Ağırdır, the head of Konda, Turkey's leading pollster said İmamoğlu’s victory on Sunday highlighted the ruling AKP’s inability to feed off the support of the streets.

 

“We are faced with a mechanism that has surrendered itself to the paranoia,’’ Ağırdır told T24. 

 Ağırdır stressed that Sunday’s polls, which according to unofficial results show İmamoğlu to have a 9 percent lead over his opponent, are the AKP’s clearest defeat of the ruling Islamist party in its 17 years in power.

“If this defeat had taken place on March 31, it would not have had the political repercussions it has today,’’ the head of Konda said, adding that the methods employed by the AKP, including pressure on the top election council and a last-minute letter by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), all drew “a reaction’’ from Turkish voters.

“The first thing that the AKP will try to do is to attempt to increase the authority of city councils through parliament and bylaws. There is no need for them to go after İmamoğlu,’’ Ağırdır said.