Have Turkey’s Elections Produced a Challenger to Erdogan? A resume of Ekrem Imamoglu

Source:Foreign Affairs Date:13Apr2019

Ayla Jean Ackley writes the first CV of the  man who delivered CHP its first major victory  in 16 years, mayor-soon-to-be-elect of Istanbul, Mr Ekrem Imamoglu


“Imamoglu doesn’t carry the baggage of a classic CHP politician,” said Akif Beki, a former press adviser to Erdogan who now writes a column in Karar, a conservative newspaper. “Efforts to discredit him by saying he’s an enemy of the azan [the call to prayer] or will knock down mosques just don’t stick.”

Imamoglu grew up in a religious family in the conservative Black Sea region, and he attended Koran courses in primary school. At university, his politics shifted left. He joined the CHP and a few years later, in 2014, unseated the AKP incumbent to become mayor of Istanbul’s charmless middle-class Beylikduzu district. As mayor, he won plaudits for building parks and a facility with a modern library and a concert hall. On religious holidays, he handed out traditional sweets to residents.