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Mayor of Istanbul – “Rock Star” stands for the upcoming elections

Mayor of Istanbul – “Rock Star” stands for the upcoming elections

It is boiling in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. Thousands gathered in the square where the statue of modern Türkiye’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, stands. Next to him, in the crowd, stands a man with a banner.

“The New Ataturk!” He reads the text. Refers to Ekrem Imamoglu.

He’s the 52-year-old with a sleek haircut and square glasses that makes people scream with excitement when he shows up.

– He’s a star! We love him more than a rock star! 16-year-old Eza says: He has done a lot of good for our country, he has saved Istanbul.


Photo: Eva Tedesjo

I managed to get a place In the foreground as she is pressed against a picket fence holding a homemade sign: “Anime girls want this to be decided in the first round.”

– I can’t vote this year, but I will in the next election. Then I will vote for Akram, Aiza says, smiling until the brackets glisten in the bright sunlight.

Ekrem Imamoglu is a politician from the opposition Republican People’s Party, and in 2019 he won the mayoral election in Istanbul by a landslide. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – himself from Istanbul – demanded a re-election. He could not imagine that the result was correct.

The election has been re-elected. Imamoglu won again. This time, by a larger margin.

Erdogan and his government They had to accept losing, but they did so mainly on paper. In practice, they’ve been working against the popular mayor ever since. In December last year, Ekrem Imamoglu was sentenced for “defaming” Erdogan’s allies, through a law widely used by the Erdogan regime.

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Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu says:

Photo: Eva Tedesjo

According to the indictment, between the two electoral rounds in the mayoral elections, the popular mayor is said to have described the authority that annulled the results of the first elections as “idiots”. He denies it himself – but the sentence was a two-and-a-half-year prison term and a ban on “political behaviour”.

The verdict has been appealed and critics claim it was handed down only to prevent Imamoglu from running for president in this year’s elections. Instead, the mayor campaigned for CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

– I see his future is very bright. Mehti Tayfun, 20, says he is waiting for a miracle after Erdogan.

Ekrem Imamoglu often addresses the youth and first-time voters directly. Mehti Tayfun and his counterpart, Olas Bakir, highly appreciate this.

Ulas Bakir and Mehti Tayfun make Kemal Kilicdaroglu's heart gesture with their hands.  Their message to Erdogan is for him to make a cup of tea:

Photo: Eva Tedesjo

– The most generous giant in democracy. Erdogan is too big for us. Mehti Tayfun says he should retire.

Kilicdaroglu is bigger than Erdogan?

– Yes, but Kilicdaroglu is a nice person, he won our hearts. This year won, next time it’s time to be more generous.

Cheers deafened as Imamoglu’s campaign bus rolled into the square. An unstoppable force, it came close to running over a few people, including the undersigned, before standing in front of the statue of Atatürk.

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Their era is over. We buried them in the polls in 2019, Ekrem Imamoglu exclaims, referring to the AKP.

He is standing on the roof of the bus And blow kisses to the crowd, which actually looks more like an ecstatic rock crowd than the crowd at the rally. It is sung and chanted, selfies are taken and broadcast live on social media.

– We are determined to be together, to walk together towards a beautiful future. Ekrem Imamoglu says: We are preparing for a great future for our children.

Ekrem Imamoglu took off his jacket at the request of his supporters at the election rally in Istanbul.

Photo: Eva Tedesjo

They began to demand that he take off his jacket. Young men take off their stones and twirl them like ropes through the air.

Ekrem Imamoglu does as he is told. To a united appeal from the congregation in the square, he takes off his tunic. He rolls up his sleeves. It is a gimmick from his mayoral campaign.

– Well, okay, I hear you. I took off the jacket, although the country’s tailors were upset, sales of jackets would decline. But okay, are we ready to turn the country into a democratic party, with sleeves rolled up in front of the polls? Do we have a deal, my dears? Ekrem Imamoglu says it’s good, then it’s up to you.

when it disappears from the surface People nearly ran over each other to get to the back of the bus. The door of the bus opens and dozens of children run towards the mayor of Istanbul.

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The gesture of heart is made by a supporter of Ekrem Imamoglu - who has become associated in the campaign with opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Photo: Eva Tedesjo

He managed to embrace one of them. Then he has to go to the next election meeting.

Aynur, who went to the square in Esenyurt to catch a glimpse of her favorite politician, sees the future as bright. First it will be Kilicdaroglu. Then it will be a real democracy – with Imamoglu.

– He’s a real man. She says beautiful days are coming.