Thousands of supporters gather for İmamoğlu and Yavaş’s re-election victory speeches

As the main opposition CHP secured a surprising victory, becoming the leading party in the local elections, thousands of supporters gathered at Istanbul and Ankara municipality buildings to celebrate with mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş.

Duvar English

In a surprising victory, Turkey’s main opposition secular-democrat Republican People’s Party (CHP) has become the leading party in an election for the first time since 1977. The party was able to receive only 25 percent of the votes in the 2023 general elections, whereas it has garnered more than 37 percent of the votes now according to unofficial results. 

The party also gained some key municipalities and the ruling AKP strongholds, in which the ruling party voters possibly abstained from voting amid the deepening cost of living crisis.

In line with this, thousands of citizens flocked to Istanbul and Ankara municipality buildings to celebrate the re-election of their mayors, and the CHP victory in Turkey.

In Istanbul, CHP’s incumbent candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu beat his rival AKP’s Murat Kurum with a one million vote difference, as the former garnered 51 percent and the latter remained at 39 percent. 

With a greater margin, CHP’s incumbent candidate in Ankara, Mansur Yavaş, received almost twice as many votes as AKP’s Turgut Altınok. According to unofficial results, Yavaş garnered an incredible 60 percent of the votes in the capital city, whereas Altınok remained at 31 percent.

The duo is undoubtedly seen as Erdoğan’s next rivals. In fact, some experts and politicians were favoring İmamoğlu or Yavaş as the opposition’s presidential candidate against Erdoğan instead of former CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Kılıçdaroğlu lost the party leadership in November in a congress after the defeat.


In Istanbul, the supporters gathered at Saraçhane, where the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s building is located. İmamoğlu gave his victory speech during midnight while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also speaking in Ankara, which many speculated that it was a strategic move.

During his speech, İmamoğlu asked the supporters to not chant the slogan of “Tayyip, resign.”

Commenting on the election results in which the AKP came after the CHP for the first time, İmamoğlu said “The tutelage of one person is over. The nation won,” referring to President and AKP leader Erdoğan.

İmamoğlu also did not refrain from reminding Erdoğan to not create obstacles for his municipality. “This evening, Istanbul is calling on you, 'Mr. President, you have withheld a signature for 18 months. Sign the Sefaköy-Beylikdüzü metro line project. Let Istanbul get that service immediately. Do not block it. Mind your business.' What more can Istanbulites say?”

He also thanked “Alevis, Jafaris, Shafi'is, Kurds, Circassians, Christians, Jews, Armenians, Assyrians” of the city. The most applause came from the supporters when İmamoğlu said "Kurds" in this part, Osman Çaklı from Gazete Duvar reported.

“In Istanbul, you told us that the era of waste is over. It is over permanently. The era of savings and abundance has begun. In Istanbul, the period when the nation's money is given to the nation has begun. Partisanship is over,” he added.

According to the unofficial results, the CHP also won 27 district municipalities in Istanbul, out of 39. This figure was only 14 in the 2019 local election.


In Ankara, Yavaş was expected to comfortably win before the elections. However, he was not expected to receive almost twice the votes his rival received.

Here, the supporters also flocked to the municipality building to celebrate.

“The loser of this election is never our fellow citizens who think differently from us, who did not vote for us. A democracy race was held and 'Mansur Yavaş Municipality' was approved. The losers of this election are also not our fellow citizens who worked for our opponent. We respect their efforts, labor, and devotion to the fullest and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts,” Yavaş said. 

“The loser of this election is Turgut Altınok, who completed his political life as a denouncer,” he said, criticizing his rival. Altınok drew ire after disclosing his personal wealth, which included 22 plots, 25 fields, 11 dwellings, nine houses, one gas station, and two buildings. Some journalists claimed that he did not reveal most of his wealth despite the long list he shared.

“Those who did not learn any lessons from the last election, those who slander pure patriots, those who seek help from dirty politics have once again lost and will continue to lose in the face of the supreme will of the people of Ankara,” Yavaş added.

He said he "doesn’t see the results as a victory as there is no enemy against us. We will take off our (party) badges and continue to serve six million Ankara residents without discriminating against anyone.”

“These election results draw a road map not only for us but also for everyone who is involved in politics in this country. That is to say, if you serve without discriminating against anyone, if you only deal with the task given to you by the people, if you stay away from polarization, if you are transparent, if you account to the people, you will be elected with record votes. This historic difference will never spoil us,” he added.

Yavaş also reminded that they secured the majority in the municipal council.