The re-election of Mayor of the largest city in Turkey and Europe – Istanbul has brought an even more serious loss to the ruling Justice and Development Party, created by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the long and controversial Erdogan rule in Turkey, or is it just a momentary retreat?

epa07672286 A handout photo made available by Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meeting with members of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at their group meeting at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, 25 June 2019. Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has won a repeat ballot for Istanbul mayor, beating a rival from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party and ending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's quarter-century grip on the megalopolis. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT OFFICE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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In one way or another, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at the top of the Turkish state since 2003. More than 16 years. His rule is more than controversial and has been linked in a number of cases to restrictions on freedom of speech, repression of the media, opposition and protesters, and ignoring the covenants left by the father of modern Turkish state Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In recent years, especially after an unsuccessful coup attempt in 2016, Erdogan has tightened the grip of power over the state, and governance has become more authoritarian.

epa05428090 A sign featuring Turkish President Erdogan pictured at a demonstration against the failed attempted coup in Turkey, outside the Turkish embassy in Berlin, Germany, 16 July 2016. Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim declared that the government has regained control after an attempted military coup d'etat. According to reports, at least 161 people died and 2,893 soldiers who allegedly supported the coup, were detained. According to further reports, Turkish President Erdogan has denounced the coup attempt as an 'act of treason' and insisted his government remains in charge. EPA/PAUL ZINKEN .

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Prior to local elections, even side observers could not judge whether there would be objective and fair elections. After the elections and the fragile victory of the opposition in Istanbul, the suspicions of the Erdogan regime increased. The elections were canceled and scheduled for a new vote on 23.06.2019.

epa07669624 A handout photo made available by the CHP Press office shows newly elected Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu (2-R) of Republican People's Party (CHP) and his wife Dilek (2-L) greet to his thousands of supporters as they gather during Imamoglu's speech after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, in Istanbul, Turkey, 23 June 2019. According to unofficial results Ekrem Imamoglu won the election with 54 percent of the votes. The Turkish Electoral Commission ordered a repeat of the mayoral election in Istanbul for 23 June 2019, after Turkish President Erdogan's AK Party had alleged there was 'corruption' behind his party losing to a candidate of main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) in the 31 March 2019 polls. EPA/ONUR GUNAL / CHP PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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However, the cancellation of the Istanbul election has played a bad joke on Erdogan. Instead of succeeding in reversing the vote in the re-election, the victory of the opposition deepened further. The fragile headline of 15,000 votes in the first victory of opposition candidate Eskem Imamoglu swelled to an overall 800,000 votes.

epa07669484 Supporters of Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, in Istanbul, Turkey, 23 June 2019. According to unofficial results Ekrem Imamoglu won the election with 54 percent of the votes. The Turkish Electoral Commission ordered a repeat of the mayoral election in Istanbul for 23 June 2019, after Turkish President Erdogan's AK Party had alleged there was 'corruption' behind his party losing to a candidate of main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) in the 31 March 2019 polls. EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

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The tactical scheduling of the re-election during the biggest holidays in Turkey also did not help to eliminate the opposition. The ruling party and President Erdogan were hoping for a lower turnout among the opposition due to weekends and trips at that time. These predictions did not come true. At the regular elections in March, nearly 8,550,000 voters voted, and in June – 8,925,000.

epaselect epa07669227 Supporters of Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, in Istanbul, Turkey, 23 June 2019. According to unofficial results Ekrem Imamoglu won the election with 54 percent of the votes. The Turkish Electoral Commission ordered a repeat of the mayoral election in Istanbul for 23 June 2019, after Turkish President Erdogan's AK Party had alleged there was 'corruption' behind his party losing to a candidate of main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) in the 31 March 2019 polls. EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

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The illogical lifting of the first election results in March has strengthened negative views on Erdogan and the ruling party. The scattered opposition in recent years has managed to unite for the first time on such scale and achieve a common victory. Victory, which provided new management of the most important city in Turkey – Istanbul. A major contribution to this victory is also the Kurdish minority, which was largely on the side of Eckrem Imamoglu.

epa07666535 Republican People's Party 'CHP' candidate for Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu (R) and his wife Dilek Imamoglu (L) pose for media as they travel with ferry around Bosphorus after his last repeated election campaign rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 June 2019. According to media reports, the Turkish Electoral Commission has ordered a repeat of the mayoral election in Istanbul on 23 June, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party had alleged there was 'corruption' behind his party losing. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

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The convincing loss of Istanbul by Erdogan will surely lead to new upheavals in Turkey. If the opposition can remain united, the ruling party is doomed to new failures in future elections. On the other hand, after the loss of Istanbul, the Turkish president could undertake new changes in the state structure and government that would hinder any successive success of the opposition. The expected new start for Turkey after the Istanbul election is two-way. Either we will witness the beginning of the end of Erdogan’s rule, or we will see the beginning of the end of democracy in Turkey.

epa06677137 A handout photo made available by the Turkish Presidential Press Office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives to speak during a press conference at at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, 18 April 2018. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey will hold the snap election on 24 June 2018. The presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held in November 2019, but government has decided to change the date following the recommendation of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENTAL PRESS OFFICE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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