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`This is only the beginning`: Turkish opposition celebrate
  Date : 21-04-2024

Online Desk : Opposition supporters on Sunday filled an Istanbul square to celebrate the re-election of Ekrem Imamoglu as mayor, who dealt a second blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan`s ruling party by repeating his landmark 2019 win.

Tens of thousands of people lit torches and waved Turkish flags after partial local election results showed that support for the government had weakened in the wake of nearly 70 percent inflation and the crumbling of the Turkish currency against the dollar, AFP reports.

"Turkish people have opened their eyes and voted for those candidates who think about Turkey`s economy, the youth`s education and future," university student Ege Ersoz, 19, told AFP at the Sarachane square .

"This is only the beginning. It`s the first time AKP lost this much. God willing, this will go on in the coming elections," he said, referring to Erdogan`s Justice and Development Party.

The victory had been a long time coming, he admitted. "But as soon as you turn around a loss it`s a profit," he added.

"We dealt the biggest blow to the AKP in this election. I hope we will see the AKP completely lose in Turkey and removed from power."

Large crowds chanted slogans, "Turkey is secular and will remain secular" and "Tayyip, resign!"

Imamoglu addressed the euphoric crowd, but interrupted them when some started booing at a reference to Erdogan and the ruling party.

"There`s no booing. We will talk all about this," Imamoglu said.

"After this election, I am thinking about the messages given by our people to our rivals, to the government, and to Mr President," he added.

- `A new spring day` -

Arzu Uluocak, 47, said the election results amounted to a protest by voters against the country`s deteriorating economic situation.

"People slammed it in the face of the government in this election," she said. "Every day prices are soaring, people are in dire straits."

And for Esra Palasoglu, this was just the beginning now that voters had "woken up".

"This is what we call democracy," she said.

"The veiled and the unveiled, the rightist and the leftist, they are all awakened and taught a lesson to Erdogan`s government."

"Beautiful days are near," said 20-year-old student Gurkay Gunes, wrapped in a Turkish flag. "Turkey will be more beautiful when the opposition take control of the entire Turkey," he added.

Imamoglu, his voice hoarse and visibly tired after a long, intense campaign, nevertheless sounded upbeat.

"A new era has started in Istanbul. There will be no partisanship.

"Tomorrow is a new spring day for our country," he said.

"We will inhale the air of peace, democracy and unity."

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