Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sunday lost municipal races in İstanbul and Ankara, two of the country’s major cities, according to unofficial results.
Although the state-run Anadolu news agency stopped updating election results at one point, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted defeat in İstanbul.
“Even if we may not have won the metropolitan municipality mayoralties in İstanbul, we have won most of the district municipalities,” Erdoğan said at a rally in Ankara.
The İstanbul vote was close as the opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu won by a margin of thousands in the city of almost 20 million.
According to Anadolu, the AKP garnered some 45 percent of the vote countrywide, while its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), won nearly 7 percent.
In Ankara the opposition alliance’s candidate, Mansur Yavaş, took over 50 percent of the vote, while the AKP candidate received 47.20 percent.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) won in five out of six biggest cities of Turkey, nearly 40 percent of the population, either with alliance or by itself. Only Bursa remained at the hands of AKP.
The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which did not nominate candidates in several metropolises in order to support the opposition alliance, regained most of the southeastern municipalities where HDP mayors had been replaced by government trustees.
They only lost in Şırnak, a predominantly Kurdish city, to the ruling AKP.
AKP ally the MHP won 12 mayoral posts, while an MHP candidate narrowly lost to an independent candidate in Kırklareli province.
In Tunceli province, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, the first-ever communist mayor, won Sunday’s elections. He was previously the mayor of Tunceli’s Ovacık district.
If everything goes as scheduled, Turkey will not hold a nationwide election until 2023.