Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Policy Analysis

Articles & Op-Eds

An Underdog Challenges Erdogan

Soner Cagaptay

Also available in

Wall Street Journal

June 30, 2019


The president, a former Istanbul mayor, has a rival in the current one.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his rise to the presidency as a political underdog with support from Turks who felt marginalized by the country’s secular establishment. He is now the most powerful Turkish leader in recent memory. But a new underdog is rising. On March 31, Ekrem Imamoglu won election as Istanbul mayor, beating Binali Yildirim, Mr. Erdogan’s preferred candidate, by 0.16%. At the Turkish president’s request, the Supreme Electoral Council annulled the result and called a new election, which was held last week. This time Mr. Imamoglu won decisively, 54% to 44%...

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website.