Turkish flags fly in Istanbul Taksim's square while in the background 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) and Erdogan are
Turkish flags fly in Istanbul Taksim's square while in the background 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) and Erdogan are

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party is asking for a recount of votes in Istanbul after the ruling party lost last week's mayoral election.

In a humiliating setback for Erdogan, the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) narrowly won Istanbul, the country's economic and cultural center. It also won the mayoral contest in Ankara, the capital.

A recount in some districts in Ankara is already under way, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has asked for a full recount in Istanbul.

AKP officials say the voting in Istanbul was "tainted" and cited "organized abuse, something going beyond simple individual error."

People's Democratic Party supporters (HDP) celebrate after the announcement of preliminary results of the local elections, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Erdogan's AKP Set to Accept Recount Results
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP will accept the results of local election recounts in Ankara and Istanbul no matter which party is declared the winner, a party spokesman said Saturday.    The AKP won most votes nationwide in last Sunday's election, but results showed the ruling party lost Ankara and was also narrowly defeated in Istanbul in what would be one of its worst setbacks in a decade and a half in power.    Electoral authorities are conducting a recount in scores of…

As of Sunday, the CHP candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, held a slim 16,000-vote lead over the AKP in Istanbul and urged the AKP to concede.

"I understand that it is not easy to lose Istanbul after ruling it for 25 years, but this is what democracy is about," Imamoglu said, adding that losing "is not the end of the world."

An AKP spokesman dismissed his statement and called appealing the results a "natural."

Erdogan was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994, propelling him from obscurity to international headlines. Analysts say the city usually is a harbinger for what happens on Turkey's national political stage. Losing his home city would be seen as a major setback for Erdogan and the AKP.

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