Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament congratulated all Istanbullus and the opposition CHP Party candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu who won for a second time, after his March victory was nullified following pressure from the Erdoğan government.

“Yesterday’s victory is even more impressive and gives a clear signal to President Erdoğan, that the Turkish people want more democracy,” say S&Ds.

“This was a landslide victory and a great gain for democracy in Turkey. Ekrem İmamoğlu did not only win the mayoralty, but also defeated the politics of hate and polarisation. He won despite the oppression of opposition forces, unbalanced media and the use of governmental resources in favour of the candidate of the ruling AKP party. I hope that finally this time President Erdoğan understands the message from the people and he will react positively to the voters’ demands asking for more openness and better living conditions. Maybe the 800,000 more votes that Ekrem İmamoğlu received this time, compared to AKP candidate, will finally convince the Turkish President,” said the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García.

“This victory is a joint victory of not only CHP party, but of all the opposition and I would like to congratulate them for cooperation in presenting a common candidate. I would also like to extend an invitation to Ekrem İmamoğlu to visit Brussels as soon as possible, and address the S&D Group. The S&D Group also calls on Erdogan to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus and refrain from current illegal drilling activities of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. We fully support the conclusions of the last week’s European Council to endorse the invitation to the Commission and EEAS to submit options for appropriate measures without delay,” concluded Iratxe García.

“Ekrem İmamoğlu showed that authoritarian leaders can be defeated by democratic means. I am confident that he will be a fantastic mayor for all the citizens of Istanbul. Yesterday’s elections gives us hope and demonstrates why we must not give up on Turkey! The last pillar of democracy, the vote, is still alive; but huge challenges remain ahead to restore rule of law and freedom of expression. We must not forget all the political activists and journalists imprisoned in Turkey. Today, starts the first hearing in an important political trial against well-respected NGO leader Osman Kavala and 15 other activists. They have been accused without evidence of directing nation-wide protests in the summer of 2013, with the absurd accusation that they attempted to overthrow the government of then Prime Minister Erdoğan. We fully stand behind them. They have not committed any criminal offense!” added S&D vice-president Kati Piri, European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey.