Turkey’s Opposition won a remarkable victory across several major cities in Sunday’s local body polls inflicting a major defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“One man rule is over,” said Ekrem #Imamoglu of centre-left Republican People’s Party or #CHP, who secured a second consecutive term as the Mayor of #Istanbul, defeating AK Party candidate by more than one million votes. In the capital #Ankara, CHP’s Mayor Mansur #Yavas was the winner and hailed the result as a “clear message to those who rule this country.” #CHP won many other major cities, including #Izmir, #Bursa, #Antalya and even few conservative districts.

What is remarkable that despite the opposition not coming together, CHP was able to get victories in 36 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces, making inroads into many traditional AK Party strongholds. CHP secured a significantly larger vote share than AK Party. Some smaller opposition parties seem to have faded into insignificance. Nearly 61 million people were eligible to vote for Mayors across Turley’s 81 provinces as well as provincial council members and other local officials on Sunday.

Some analysts opine that Ekrem #Imamoglu, a popular, charismatic, secular, progressive leader with youthful image and sensible economic policies could emerge as a natural candidate for the next round of presidential elections. Are Ekrem #Imamoglu and Mansur #Yavas the new faces of Turkiye?

In a speech Sunday night, Recep Tayyip #Erdogan, who has been Turkey’s undisputed leader since 2002, acknowledged that his party had lost “altitude” across the country, but claimed “it is not the end, but just a turning point.” He said, “we will correct our mistakes and redress our shortcomings.” Erdogan, the President of Turkiye and its most consequential leader this century, started his rise to power three decades ago from Istanbul, a city of 16 million people, where he was born and raised, and won the election for Mayor in 1994. Could it be the beginning of the end for the Erdogan?

Those knowledgeable about Turkiye politics caution, “do not write off #Erdogan just yet!” He remains a popular leader at the grassroots level. His performance over the first decade and half in power was excellent and evoke good memories. But over the last few years, people seem frustrated with the economic slowdown, sharp devaluation of Lira against the dollar, rampant inflation and unemployment. Erdogan’s personal popularity remains higher than that of his AK Party. A shrewd politician, he can find innovative ways to reach people and reclaim some of the lost ground.

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