The mayoral candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for İstanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara on Thursday and asked for his support in the March 31 local elections, according to Turkish media reports.
Erdoğan, who is also the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), nominated Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister and current parliament speaker for the post of İstanbul mayor.
İmamoğlu, who is currently the mayor of İstanbul’s Beylikdüzü district from the CHP, told reporters following the meeting that they had a pleasant conversation, which was mainly about İstanbul.
Erdoğan was the mayor of İstanbul between 1994 and 1998.
“I listened to his experience and suggestions regarding İstanbul. He told me some valuable anecdotes from which I will benefit. I told him I’d be happy to accept his vote [from the point of view that he’s the president]. I asked for his vote. He smiled,” said İmamoğlu.
When İmamoğlu sparked criticism for expressing his intention to meet with Erdoğan, he said he was willing to meet with all the living former mayors of İstanbul and that he would meet with Erdoğan as a former İstanbul mayor to learn about his experience.