Five things to know about Turkey's historic local elections

Turkey's local elections on Sunday dealt the biggest blow in more than two decades to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AKP party.

Here are five things to know about the poll that turned into a debacle for the country's veteran leader.

More than a local poll

By throwing all his energy into campaigning for his party's candidates for mayors, Erdogan gave the election a national resonance and made it a de facto referendum on him and his party.

This held especially true in Istanbul, the country's megapolis and economic powerhouse where Erdogan got his own political start and that he badly wanted to recapture from the opposition.

The voters' answer was clear – the ruling party not only failed to wrest back control of Istanbul and the capital Ankara from the opposition, but lost ground in the country's other major cities, including in the conservative Anatolia region, which had been considered an AKP stronghold.

"The biggest election defeat of Erdogan's career", is how Berk Esen, a political scientist at Sabanci University, described the election, in which the main opposition CHP party scored "its best result since 1977".

Economic woes

"When Turkish people vote, the situation in the kitchen or on their plate changes the voting trend," Ali Faik Demir, a political scientist at Galatasaray University, told AFP.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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