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Is Turkey’s opposition losing Istanbul to Erdogan?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is employing a panoply of unfathomable methods to peremptorily take over city municipalities he lost in the last election.

Istanbul's mayoral race was held twice in 2019, and opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won both times. Fast forward from June 27, 2019 — the day Imamoglu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), accepted the position of mayor — to August 2020, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proudly announced the conversion to mosques of both the Hagia Sophia and the Chora Museum

The Islamization of Istanbul continues as conservative Erdogan supporters enthusiastically cheer for the reconquest of the city with each new mosque announcement. Pro-government media ridicules how the West cannot accept the loss of the Hagia Sophia or Istanbul. As television crews interviewed people waiting to attend Friday prayers on the day of the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque, one middle-aged man passionately said, “Today, we took Istanbul back.” 

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