Setback To Erdogan: Imamoglu Leads Istanbul Mayoral Race

With most of the votes counted, Imamoglu led by 10 percentage points in the mayoral race in Istanbul.

Setback To Erdogan: Imamoglu Leads Istanbul Mayoral Race

Turks gave President Tayyip Erdogan and his party their most significant election defeat on Sunday in a countrywide local poll that reestablished the opposition as a political force and strengthened Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu as the president's main adversary. 

With the majority of votes counted, Imamoglu led by ten percentage points in the mayoral contest in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, while his Republican People's Party (CHP) kept Ankara and won 15 other mayoral seats around the country. 

It was the greatest setback for Erdogan and his AK Party (AKP) in almost two decades in office, and it might indicate a shift in the country's split political landscape. In a post-midnight address, Erdogan referred to it as a "turning point."

Erdogan told people gathered at the AKP headquarters in Ankara, the capital, that his coalition had "lost altitude" across the country and that he would make efforts to address voters' concerns. 

"If we make a mistake, we will fix it" in the next few years, he added. "If we have anything missing, we will complete it." 

Elsewhere in Ankara, hundreds more supporters had earlier waved Turkish and party flags in support of reelected CHP Mayor Mansur Yavas, who defeated his AKP rival in yet another setback for Erdogan. 

According to 92.92% of ballot boxes unsealed in Istanbul, Europe's largest metropolis and the country's economic engine, Imamoglu received 50.92% of the vote, while AKP competitor Murat Kurum, a former minister in Erdogan's national administration, received 40.05%.

Polls projected a close race in Istanbul and potential CHP losses around the nation. 

However, incomplete official results posted by the state-run Anadolu Agency showed the AKP and its main ally losing mayoralties in 19 key municipalities, including major cities Bursa and Balikesir in the industrialized northwest, presumably indicating wage pressures. 

According to the results, the CHP led countrywide by about 1% of the vote, the first time in 35 years.