The Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Ekrem İmamoğlu, expressed yesterday his willingness to ask for a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Istanbul mayor, Kadir Topbaş ahead of local elections to be scheduled on March 31, 2019.
"I will request a meeting with the President and Kadir Topbaş," İmamoğlu said during an interview with daily Sözcü. İmamoğlu's request was regarded as a likely move to benefit from two former mayors of Istanbul. Erdoğan had run the country's culture and commercial capital, Istanbul, from 1994 to 1998, while Topbaş took the office in 2004 and had been mayor of the Turkey's largest province since 2017.
In an aim to take the advice of the former Istanbul metropolitan mayors, Imamoğlu also met yesterday with former Istanbul mayors Bedrettin Dalan and Nurettin Sözen.
Prior to the announcement of his candidacy, Imamoğlu, who has been the mayor of Beylikdüzü since 2014, also held a meeting with the CHP's district mayors in Istanbul.
Last week, Imamoğlu was announced as the joint candidate of the CHP and center-right Good Party (İP) for Istanbul mayoral post. However, Imamoğlu's candidacy had drawn criticism as some party members have claimed that Imamoğlu is not a popular figure among the voter base of Istanbul.
The nearly two-decade hegemony of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Istanbul started with Topbaş's victory with 45.3 percent of votes against the CHP's candidate Sefa Sirmen, who came second with 28.9 percent of the votes in 2004. Topbaş defeated current CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the 2009 elections with 44.7 percent and saw his third consecutive win in 2014 with 47.9 percent against prominent Turkish politician Mustafa Sarıgül, who entered the election as the CHP's nominee.