Addressing citizens, Ekrem Imamoglu wanted to celebrate "democracy." "The people of Istanbul gave a lesson" to the government leadership. State TV censorship, which did not broadcast images of the event. The president seems to have accepted the defeat and the "message" launched "by the people".
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A crowd gathered yesterday afternoon in the area in front of the city hall of Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who defeated (twice) the exponent of the governing party. "Today we celebrate democracy - underlined the new leader before a flood of flags - today we celebrate Istanbul", the economic and commercial heart of the country.
Despite the massive turnout (see photo), none of the main national television broadcasters covered the event. A censorship that confirms the tensions within the ruling party and the nervousness in the entourage of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the scorching defeat suffered after 25 years of AKP election victories.
Twice in a few months Imamoglu, and the Republican secular party CHP, has beaten former prime minister Binali Yildirim, reinforcing the gap in the second round after the March elections were canceled due to alleged fraud.
Based on official data released by the Electoral Commission, the new mayor has increased his margin from 13,000 posting votes in March to over 800,000 last week. "The people of Istanbul - the 49-year-old Imamoglu continued - gave a lesson to a handful of people who wanted to undermine democracy."
"He speaks a language we haven't heard in a long time," said Erol, one of the many supporters in the crowd. "That's why I'm here today" he added.
The victory in Istanbul - as in Ankara - has not only a symbolic value. As the Turkish president himself said in the past [who seems to have accepted the electoral defeat], whoever wins in the economic capital also wins all of Turkey. "We cannot remain deaf - said Erdogan himself in recent days at a party meeting - to the message of our people".
Moreover, despite the defeat of its candidate, the AKP remains the most popular party in the country and a sunset of the Erdogan era still seems far away. The move of the Turkish leadership in the face of defeat must also be remembered, with the decision to "limit" the power of the mayors entrusting greater duties, responsibilities and competences to the municipal assemblies (in the hands of the AKP).
"Istanbul is a metropolis and has a huge budget - declared Unal Ceviko, deputy head of the CHP - and it is possible that Erdogan will attempt to block funding sources, but ... it has many and different opportunities to generate and develop its own funding ".