*** ----> Istanbul’s ambitious mayor deals a new blow to Erdogan | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Istanbul’s ambitious mayor deals a new blow to Erdogan

AFP | Istanbul, Turkey                                     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Ekrem Imamoglu’s second convincing victory in an Istanbul city election looks set to propel him into the running for the 2028 presidential vote.

The football-loving 52-yearold, who first became the mega-city’s mayor in 2019, on Sunday again defeated Erdogan’s chosen candidate in the country’s economic powerhouse despite a concerted effort to unseat him by the veteran president.

“Tomorrow is a new spring day for our country,” Imamoglu told tens of thousands of euphoric supporters cheering his re-election late Sunday, wearing his trademark shirtsleeves and rimless glasses.

Imamoglu, candidate for the social-democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), had spent much of the campaign targeting Erdogan rather than his nominal opponent, former environment minister Murat Kurum.

Largely unknown in 2019, Imamoglu that year ended 25 years of rule by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its allies in the city of 16 million where the president was once mayor.

The smooth talking Imamoglu was initially stripped of his victory when the vote was controversially annulled.

But he won by an even bigger margin in a re-run three months later. He has since become one of Turkey’s most popular politicians, even as he was targeted with legal action.

An Istanbul court ruled in late 2022 that Imamoglu had defamed city election officials by calling them “idiots”, sentencing him to nearly three years in jail.

It barred him from politics for the duration of the sentence.

Imamoglu has appealed, meaning that he has continued to serve as mayor while putting his fate in the hands of judges whose impartially he questioned.