Turkey's two largest cities witnessed tightest elections races in decades as Nation Alliance candidate Mansur Yavaş of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) won capital Ankara and Ekrem Imamoğlu won Istanbul.
The People's Alliance of ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were leading Turkey's local elections on Sunday as over 91 percent of the ballots have been counted.
Ekrem Imamoğlu led with 4,159,650 votes over the AK Party's Binali Yıldırım with 4,131,761 votes.
Yıldırım had declared victory around 11:25 p.m., however, Imamoğlu said he maintains a comfortable lead over Yıldırım. In his election speech in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not cite Istanbul among cities where the AK Party has won a victory while CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that Imamoğlu won Istanbul.
In the capital Ankara, Yavaş led the race with 50.62 percent against 47.20 percent for AK Party's Mehmet Özhaseki, with over 92 percent of the votes counted. Yavaş, who lost another hotly contested race against then AK Party candidate Melih Gökçek back in 2014, said justice had been served.
"We will embrace this city [Ankara] without further discrimination," Yavaş told during a rally to celebrate the results.
In Turkey's third largest city Izmir, CHP candidate Tunç Soyer is projected to comfortably win the election with 58.06 percent of the vote against AK Party's Nihat Zeybekci with 38.49 percent, as nearly 92 percent of the votes have been counted.
Supreme Election Board (YSK) President Sadi Güven said Sunday evening that the final election results would be announced to the public as soon as possible.
As a result of the elections, the AK Party took the lead in 15 metropolitan municipalities and 24 other provinces. In 2014, the AK Party won the local elections in 18 metropolitan municipalities and 30 other provinces.
The MHP took the lead in one metropolitan municipality and 11 other provinces. In 2014, the MHP had won the local elections in three metropolitan municipalities and five other provinces.
CHP took the lead in 10 metropolitan municipalities and 10 other provinces. In 2014, CHP won the local elections in six metropolitan municipalities and eight other provinces.
Hometowns of leaders sided with their countrymen
The hometowns of the leaders mostly remained loyal to their countrymen. In the hometown of Erdoğan, northeastern Turkey's Rize, AK Party received 72.4 percent of the votes, winning the municipality with the overwhelming majority. Erdoğan received more than 76.9 percent of the votes cast in Rize in the June 24 presidential elections. His opponent Muharrem Ince from CHP received only at 16.6 percent. The AK Party mayoral candidates received 47.8 and 67.8 percent of the votes to win the 2009 and 2014 elections, respectively.
In MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's hometown, southern Turkey's Osmaniye, MHP received 53.11 percent of the votes and became the leading party in the province. Osmaniye has witnessed a tough competition between the two components of the People's Alliance, the MHP and AK Party in previous elections. The MHP's mayoral candidates won the 2009 and 2014 local elections with 45.1 and 47.3 percent of votes, respectively.
The AK Party candidates, in comparison, received 36.8 and 37.4 percent of the votes. The CHP received less than 10 percent of the votes in the province. In the 2019 local elections, the AK Party-backed MHP candidate Kadir Kara, who competed against the Nation Alliance candidate, Davut Çuhadar.
The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) took the lead in the province of Tunceli.
CHP mayoral candidates have had difficulties in winning elections in party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's hometown, eastern Turkey's Tunceli. The pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has triumphed in the recent local elections. The Democratic Society Party (DTP), the predecessor of the HDP, won the local elections in 2009, while the candidate of another predecessor of the pro-PKK party, the BDP, left behind other competitors in the 2014 local elections. The CHP came second in the 2014 local elections.
IP leader Meral Akşener's hometown, northern Turkey's Kocaeli, remained the AK Party's stronghold with the party receiving 55.14 percent of the votes. The ruling party's candidates won the mayoral race in Kocaeli in the 2009 and 2014 local elections, with 47.4 and 50.5 percent of the votes, respectively. The CHP's candidates came second with 31.7 percent and 26.1 percent of the votes.
Mayoral race results
According to unofficial results, the following candidates are projected to win mayoral races, with at least 90 percent of the ballots counted in each of the following provinces.
Afyonkarahisar: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Mehmet Zeybek received 44.9 percent of the votes.
Ağrı: AK Party candidate Savcı Sayan received 55.9 percent of the vote.
Aksaray: AK Party's Evren Dinçer received 40.6 percent of the votes.
Ardahan: Nation Alliance candidate CHP's Faruk Demiri received 46.82 percent of the votes.
Artvin: Nation Alliance candidate CHP's Demirhan Elçin received 51.3 percent of the votes against 43.5 percent for People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Mehmet Kocatepe.
Batman: Pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Mehmet Demir received 65.7 percent of the votes
Bilecik: Nation Alliance candidate CHP's Semih Şahin received 50.3 percent of the votes against 41.9 percent for AK Party's Nihat Can.
Bingöl: AK Party candidate Erdal Arıkan received 38.61 of the votes.
Bitlis: AK Party candidate Nurullah Tanğlay received 44.3 percent of the votes.
Burdur: CHP candidate Ali Orkun Ercengiz received 51.7 percent of the votes.
Elazığ: AK Party candidate Şahin Şerifoğulları received 40.7 percent of the votes.
Erzincan: MHP candidate Bekir Aksun received 42.1 percent of the votes.
Erzurum: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Mehmet Sekmen received 63.22 of the votes.
Gaziantep: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Fatma Şahin received 53.7 percent of the votes.
Giresun: AK Party candidate Aytekin Şenlikoğlu received 49 percent of the vote.
Gümüşhane: AK Party candidate Ercan Çimen received 49.1 percent of the votes.
Iğdır: MHP candidate Isa Yaşar Tezelis received 49 percent of the votes.
Izmir: Nation Alliance candidate CHP's Tunç Soyer received 58 percent of the votes against People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Nihat Zeybekci.
Kayseri: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Memduh Büyükkılıç received 63 percent of the votes.
Kastamonu: MHP candidate Rahmi Galip Vidinlioğlu received 49.2 percent of the votes.
Kırıkkale: AK Party candidate Mehmet Saygılı received 42.2 percent of the votes.
Konya: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Uğur Ibrahim Altay received an overwhelming 71.3 percent of the votes.
Malatya: AK Party candidate Selahattin Gürkan received 69.4 percent of the votes.
Mardin: HDP candidate Ahmet Türk received 55 percent of the votes.
Rize: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Rahmi Metin received 72.1 percent of the votes in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Black Sea hometown.
Sakarya: People's Alliance candidate AK Party's Ekrem Yüce received 65.1 percent of the votes.
Sinop: CHP candidate Barış Ayhan received 56.7 percent of the vote.
Şırnak: AK Party candidate Mehmet Yarka receives 61.9 percent of the votes.
Sivas: AK Party candidate Hilmi Bilgin received 49.2 percent of the votes.
Trabzon: AK Party candidate Murat Zorluoğlu received 64.1 percent of the votes.
Tunceli: Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) candidate Mehmet Fatih Maçoğlu received 32.2 percent to secure the win.
Zonguldak: AK Party candidate Ömer Selim Alan received 42.1 percent of the votes.
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