Turkish ruling party's 'survival' rhetoric failed in local elections - Reuters

Turkish governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) sources said its election strategy of presenting the vote as a "matter of survival" for Turkey and adopting an aggressive stance against opponents had backfired, Reuters reported on Friday.

“Maybe we should have given another message instead of ‘survival’,” Reuters quoted its source at AKP headquarters in Ankara as saying, adding the rhetoric had been "ill-suited for voters worried about living standards and local services."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and mayoral candidates of his party adopted a combative style during March 31 local election run in which they accused opponents of having links to terrorism.

“This time we saw an open will to vote for Ekrem Imamoglu across all parts of society,” said Süleyman Çelebi, an aide to opposition Istanbul candidate İmamoğlu, since people are tired of “divisive and polarizing language” of Erdoğan, he added.

According to unofficial results, the AKP has lost control of five of six biggest cities, including the capital of Ankara and the country's economic hub Istanbul, in a blow to Erdoğan's 16-year rule. The AKP has challenged to results of the local polls in both cities and recounting of votes still continues.