According to early results, Turkey’s main opposition party candidate took the lead in the capital Ankara in Sunday’s local elections. After three-quarters of ballot boxes were opened, Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Mansur Yavas had 50.3 percent, giving him a 2.8 percentage points lead over his rival President Erdogan from the ruling AK Party.
Results are so far extremely close in Turkey’s local elections, which are widely seen as a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The opposition CHP candidate for mayor has claimed a narrow victory in Ankara, where 91.4% votes have been counted.
In Constantinople (Istanbul), the governing AK Party said it had won a tight victory by just one percentage point.
“If there are any shortcomings, it is our duty to correct them,” said President Erdogan, as results came in.
However, he maintained that his AK Party (Justice and Development Party, AKP) had come “top by far”.
“Results show that, as the AKP, we emerged from this election as the top party by far, just as has been the case since the 3 November 2002 election,” the president said.
More than 57 million people in the country were registered to vote for mayors and councillors in the election.
Greece is watching on closely, as tensions between Turkey and Greece, with Erdogan recently announcing his intention to change Hagia Sophia into Mosque.
Erdogan has made Hagia Sophia one of the main topics of the political discourse in Turkey ahead of Sunday’s local elections.
Greece reacted to the provocative statements of the Turkish President on Tuesday, with the country’s Foreign Minister George Katrougalos saying ”Hagia Sophia is not only a great temple of Christendom, which has been the largest for many centuries, it also belongs to humanity and has been recognised by UNESCO as part of our global cultural heritage.”