Turkey poised for local elections as Erdogan's party eyes recapturing Istanbul

Bruised and fractured by Tayyip Erdogan's victory in 2023 general elections, Turkey's opposition aims to land a blow in Sunday's local polls, with the future of its biggest hope, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, tied to the outcome.

The nationwide municipal votes on March 31 could reinforce President Erdogan's control after two decades running Turkey, or signal change in the NATO member's deeply divided political landscape.

The results are likely to be shaped in part by economic woes driven by rampant inflation, and by Kurdish and Islamist voters weighing up the government's performance and their hopes for political change.

Opposition hopes of transformation were fuelled by local election results in 2019 when they defeated Erdogan's AK Party in the main two cities, Istanbul and Ankara, which had been run by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors for 25 years.

"Those who cannot stomach Turkey's increasing power in the region and world, or its principled and fair stance, are currently waiting in ambush," he said on Monday at a rally in the northern province of Tokat.


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