Erdogan, the Sultan who lost his Istanbul

“These are just local elections” they belittle the headquarters of the AKP, Erdogan's party. “These are just local elections” echo the opposition, with a completely different spirit. But this defeat of Erdogan, although it does not change the political balance of the nation, is a milestone for the opposition: their definitive affirmation in the big cities is a significant demonstration of strength against the party currently in power.

“Everything will be fine,” Ekrem Imamoglu's supporters chanted as they danced to the beat of drums and clarinets in Sarachane, one of Istanbul's oldest neighborhoods.

Imamoglu, the city's incumbent mayor, first used this slogan when he wrested the city from the AKP party five years ago. Since then the mayor in office has continued to win consensus and achieve positive results.

During this latest electoral campaign, Erdogan took a definitive bath in reality and in fact stated that this was the last, since his presidential mandate expires in 2028 and not even the “Sultan” believes he can lead Turkey for life. A sentiment reciprocated by the Turks, apparently.

The electoral defeat that took place this Easter weekend represents the biggest debacle of Erdogan's career since 1977. To the point that many commentators go so far as to say that if Imamoglu or the other rising star Mansur Yavas had been the CHP's candidates in the elections presidential elections last year, they would certainly have won.

Having lost Istanbul, a megalopolis that is home to a fifth of Turkey's population of almost 85 million people, is a clear sign of changing times. And what is being prepared for the future. Especially considering the ongoing economic crisis, which has seen inflation rates skyrocket to 67% and interest rates to 50%.

“Control the city and you will control a significant part of the Turkish economy,” say Turkish politicians and economists. And today this certainly applies to trade, tourism and finance. That is, some of the greatest resources of contemporary Türkiye.

Already five years ago, Imamoglu made a small revolution, overthrowing years of AK Party rule in Istanbul with the support of other opposition parties. But the opposition's unity fell apart following the defeat in the presidential elections. But today, the feeling is that something is changing forever: among those approximately 61 million Turks who were able to participate in Sunday's elections, more than one and a half million were young voters who voted for the first time. And almost no one pointed to AKP. Voter turnout was estimated at more than 77% in the country's 81 provinces. Next time, this political fact could lead to a “soft” change at the helm of the country.