Erdogan loses hold over Turkish capital, Istanbul disputed

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 1, 2019 - Duration: 02:06s

Erdogan loses hold over Turkish capital, Istanbul disputed

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has suffered a major setback after local elections saw his party lose control of the capital, Ankara, while the result in Istanbul was too close to call.

Emily Wither reports.

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Erdogan loses hold over Turkish capital, Istanbul disputed

These scenes haven't been seen in the Turkish capital city of Ankara for over a decade.

And represent a severve setback to Turkey's powerful President Tayyip Erdogan.

His ruling AK Party has lost control of the country's capital for the first time in a local election to the country's main opposition party.

But perhaps more significant is a loss here in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, where Erdogan launched his political career.

A defeat here is a broader sign of dwindling support as Turkey's economic downturn weighs heavily on voters.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, EMILY WITHER, SAYING: "The results in Istanbul are so close to call that both sides are claiming the narrowest of victories.

And despite the winner being disputed, signs like these that say 'Thank you Istanbul' featuring Erdogan and his party's candidate former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim have popped all over the city." Speaking to his supporters Erdogan appeared to concede defeat in Istanbul.

But added his party would appeal results wherever needed.

(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING (SOUNDBITE PARTLY OVERLAYS ON CROWD LISTENING): "I believe the only reason we couldn't get the results we wanted in some cities is that we couldn't express ourselves enough to our nation and we failed to win their hearts." The loss came despite the president's daily rallies and overwhelmingly supportive media coverage.

Erdogan has now promised to focus on Turkey's troubled economy in the run-up to national elections in 2023.

A currency crisis after last year's election dragged the lira down by 30 percent and tipped the economy towards recession.

With unemployment rising, some voters appeared ready to punish the president.

Last week he called himself "the boss" of the economy.

With so many concerned with where it's going, it shows despite Erdogan's 16 year grip on power here he's not immune to a shift in public opinoin

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