Turkey’s opposition revelled yesterday in a landslide win in Istanbul’s re-run mayoral vote -- a blow for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that even some pro-government media called a victory for democracy.
Ekrem Imamoglu, a little-known district mayor at the start of the year, won the election by more than 777,000 votes, up from just 13,000 in the first election in March, which was annulled over controversial claims of fraud.
It was a rare chance to celebrate for the opposition after 25 years of rule by Islamic conservatives in Istanbul.
And it was a rare blow to Erdogan, who has held national power since 2003.
In the traditionally left-wing neighbourhood of Besiktas, thousands partied late into night, clogging the streets, waving beers and Turkish flags.
“It wasn’t right to repeat this election, but the fact that it was won with such a gap is even better for Istanbul,” said 45-year-old Servan Soydan as he walked his dog yesterday.
There was less jubilation in the media, which has been almost entirely put under the thumb of the government in recent years.
“Istanbul has voted,” read the subdued headline of the Yeni Safak newspaper.