Erdoğan says he accepts the will of the people in İstanbul repeat election

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Turkish President and leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, Turkey on October 23, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday congratulated the opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu on his win in the June 23 İstanbul mayoral election and said the people have spoken and that he accepts their decision.

Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan again defended a decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to annul the March 31 election results and called the process “democratic.”

A repeat election was held on Sunday, when İmamoğlu garnered over 54 percent of the İstanbul vote.

He also called for self-criticism within the party concerning the results in the March 31 local elections and the June 24, 2018 parliamentary and presidential elections.

Although the AKP and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) garnered some 52 percent of the vote in the local elections, it lost İstanbul and Ankara after 25 years of Islamist and conservative party rule.

Observers argue that poor economic performance led to the election losses for the AKP, although President Erdoğan said the economy is in recovery in June.

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