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Erdogan’s AK Party to Challenge Election Losses in Ankara, Istanbul

Turkey’s High Election Board ruled on Wednesday in favor of a recount in seven of Istanbul’s 39 voting districts after an initial count showed Ekrem Imamoglu, of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with a narrow victory in local elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party (AKP) has appealed the results in all districts of Turkey’s largest city and commercial hub, where its own candidate, ex-prime minister Binali Yildirim, was behind by as much as 25,000 votes. Istanbul’s population is 15 million, according to official data. The AKP is also challenging the results in the capital, Ankara. The defeats would be surprising blows to Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years. It is the first time his party, established in 2001, has lost the capital in an election. But losing Istanbul – Erdogan’s hometown and where he launched his political career, serving as mayor in the 1990s – would add salt to the wounds. Erdogan had campaigned for two months ahead of Sunday’s vote. The country has been suffering from high inflation and unemployment rates, and its currency has lost 40 percent of its value against the US.