Turkey's main opposition party CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, who claimed victory as Istanbul's mayor, speaks during a press conference at the CHP's Election Coordination Centre in Istanbul, April 3, 2019.
Turkey's main opposition party CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, who claimed victory as Istanbul's mayor, speaks during a press conference at the CHP's Election Coordination Centre in Istanbul, April 3, 2019.

Istanbul's opposition mayoral candidate urged Turkey's elections board Wednesday to confirm his narrow victory after it launched a partial recount of votes in eight of the city's 39 districts.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was dealt a political blow in Sunday's elections, as early results show the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) narrowly defeating Erdogan's ruling AK Party in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey's two largest cities.

In Istanbul, the AK Party (AKP) candidate, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, was narrowly defeated by opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu. 

FILE - A woman walks past posters showing Binali Y
FILE - A woman walks past posters showing Binali Yildirim, left, the mayoral candidate for Istanbul of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) a day after the local elections in Istanbul, April 1, 2019.

Erdogan's AK Party filed appeals Tuesday to contest the outcomes in Istanbul, demanding a correction of alleged irregularities and that votes determined to be invalid be recounted. After considering the appeals, the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) ordered a recount in eight districts in Istanbul.

Imamoglu urged the YSK to "do its job" and declare him the winner of Istanbul's mayoral race. "We want justice," he told reporters, and added, "The world is watching us."

 

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AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz defended his party, maintaining it is not conducting any illegal acts and noting the vote difference between Imamoglu and Yildirim had narrowed to less than 20,000 votes.

"We believe the reality will emerge tonight and we will all accept the results. Both Ekrem Imamoglu and the AK Party will have to accept the outcome," he said at a news conference.

If the opposition party's preliminary victors are confirmed, the CHP will assume control of Istanbul, Turkey's commercial hub, and Ankara, Turkey's capital. Erdogan, who campaigned hard for the AKP, would likely lose some control over local contracts in the two cities, possibly impeding his efforts to lift Turkey's economy out of recession.