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Turkey's Erdogan says ruling AKP to 'correct shortcomings' after losing Ankara

Turkey's Erdogan says ruling AKP to 'correct shortcomings' after losing Ankara

There was a three-day period for election results to be challenged, Guven said, adding that results of 84 out of 31,186 ballot boxes in Istanbul had not yet been scanned into the system due to challenges.

For his supporters, Erdogan remains the strong leader they believe Turkey needs and they tout the country's economic development over the years he and the AKP have been in power.

With 90 percent of ballots counted, secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Mansur Yavas had 50.3 percent of the vote, 2.8 percentage points ahead of his AK Party rival.

Erdogan has often blamed foreign powers and "speculators" for the currency fluctuations and other economic woes faced by Turkey - a message he repeated this week.

"We want to start working as soon as possible to serve our people", he said.

In predominantly Kurdish provinces, a pro-Kurdish party won seven top mayoral seats but lost some strongholds, including southeastern Sirnak province, to the ruling party.

As this was written, voters in Turkey were casting their ballots in country-wide municipal elections.

"This is fantastic, we run the three largest cities in Turkey and have shown the world that democracy is not dead in this country", said CHP supporter Alp Topaloglu after a night celebrating outside the party's Ankara offices.

Esen said Erdogan's hands were also "tied in the worldwide arena due to the standoff with the United States and the election results will further curtail his room for manoeuvre".

Late last night, after Yildirim's lead shrank to only 4,000, the Official Election Commission (YSK) ceased updating vote results in Istanbul.

Yet the AKP also claimed victory, saying it had "plenty of" evidence of voting irregularities.

"Every gain and every loss is the will of our people and also a requirement of democracy that should be acknowledged", Erdoğan said in Istanbul before flying to Ankara.

Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu dismissed Yildirim's statement as a "manipulation" and said that votes were still being counted.

Two people are also injured in Istanbul's Kadikoy district in a fight between relatives of candidates running for neighbourhood administration posts.

Ozgur Dilber, a CHP volunteer, said the results showed that the AK Party's popularity was waning - even if Erdogan's bloc won in Istanbul. Despite predictable attempts to distract people from economic issues (Mr. Erdogan even recently bizarrely claimed that the New Zealand mosques shootings represented an attack on Turkey that his government would valiantly counter), a significant number of long-time AKP voters may only care about economics now. The government views the HDP as being aligned to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and has imprisoned thousands of HDP supporters and officials since 2016.

Sunday's elections also marked the first ballot-box test for Erdoğan since he won re-election a year ago under a new system of government that gave the presidency expanded powers.

While Erdogan's name wasn't on the ballot, it was his political standing that hung in the balance after a quarter-century reign in Ankara and Istanbul by his Islamist-rooted party and its predecessors.

Opposition parties coordinated strategies and put forward candidates under alliances in an effort to maximize the chances of unseating members of the Justice and Development Party, known in Turkish by the acronym AKP.

Judging by the growing popular discontent over Turkey's economy, which sank into recession this year, the ruling party has reason to worry.

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