People attend rally in support of Istanbul's new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu on Sunday. Photo: Emrah Oprukcu / NurPhoto

The new mayor of Istanbul rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters on Sunday to mark a “new beginning,” urging citizens to come together after his contested victory against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

Ekrem Imamoglu, 49, of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), narrowly edged out his rival to secure the Istanbul mayor’s office, a major setback for Erdogan’s AKP after a decade and a half in power.

As Imamoglu addressed the Istanbul rally, over in Ankara, the capital, the CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was punched and kicked by a mob during a funeral for a soldier killed in fighting with Kurdish rebels.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still seeking a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul ballot, but electoral authorities last week handed Imamoglu his mandate after he won a slim 13,000-vote lead over AKP’s Binali Yildirim.

Waving Turkish flags and portraits of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, thousands of Imamoglu supporters packed the vast Maltepe shoreside area on the Asian side of Istanbul for the rally.

Imamoglu, a soft-spoken former district mayor who struck a conciliatory tone throughout the heated race, has vowed to serve all citizens of the 16-million strong city, regardless of their political inclinations.

“I will work, produce solutions and achieve results. This is my promise to each and every one of the 16 million Istanbul people,” he told the rally.

“Nobody will be discriminated against.”

Imamoglu vowed an “accountable and transparent municipality,” saying: “We will not waste a single penny.”

Imamoglu, who will govern the city for the next five years, said the Maltepe rally was not a political gathering, but a way to introduce the city’s new administration to the people of Istanbul.

“He is a man who can easily talk with people and never turns his back on them. He is a man of the people,” said Refika, a 70-year-old woman who joined the rally.

For his supporters, Erdogan remains the strong leader Turkey needs and one who speaks for religiously conservative Turks.

Erdogan’s critics say he has undermined the rule of law with a crackdown on dissent and sowed division by accusing his opponents of being enemies of the state.

– with reporting by AFP

Join the Conversation

15 Comments

  1. I just like the helpful information you provide to your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again right here frequently.
    I am relatively sure I’ll be informed plenty of new stuff proper right
    here! Best of luck for the next!

  2. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more
    of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my
    social networks!

  3. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to take
    a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded
    on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
    Anyhow, excellent blog!

  4. My brother suggested I would possibly like this
    web site. He was entirely right. This publish truly made
    my day. You cann’t consider just how much time I had spent for this info!
    Thanks!

  5. I’m really loving the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues?
    A few of my blog visitors have complained about my site
    not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

  6. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all.
    However think about if you added some great photos or videos
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent
    but with images and clips, this blog could definitely be one
    of the most beneficial in its field. Great blog!

  7. Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform
    you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  8. Unquestionably imagine that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest factor to remember of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked at the same time as folks consider issues
    that they plainly do not know about. You controlled to hit the nail
    upon the highest and defined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , other folks could take a
    signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *