Imamoglu and Kurum in a contested battle for the metropolis of two continents - Istanbul

On March 31, key local elections are held in Turkey. All eyes are on Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
BGNES presents the profiles of the most significant candidates.
In the battle for Istanbul are Murat Kurum, a candidate from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Ekrem Imamoglu, the former mayor from the main opposition Republican People's Party (RPP).
Ekrem Imamoglu was born in 1970 in the Black Sea city of Trabzon in northeastern Turkey, he moved with his parents to Istanbul shortly after.
Imamoglu studied Business Management before entering his family's lucrative business in western Istanbul.
While Ekrem Imamoglu, who is involved in trade and construction like his family, entered politics in 2009, Murat Kurum was climbing the career ladder at that time.
Kurum was born in Ankara in 1976 to a family of civil servants.
In 2009, Imamoglu became the regional chairman of the RNP in Beylikdüzü, where he later became mayor.
In November 2009, Murat Kurum became the general director of TOKİ-affiliated Emlak Konut GYO.
In the local elections of 2014, Imamoglu was elected mayor of Beylikdüzü.
Murat Kurum entered politics for the first time in 2018 as the Minister of Environment and Urbanization.
In 2019, Imamoglu was elected mayor of Istanbul Municipality.
Key to Imamoglu's success has been his positive campaign style – as opposed to the often vicious personal attacks in Turkish politics – and his easy contact with people on the street, where he has regularly met with voters in bazaars and cafes.
Both are married with 3 children.
In the battle for the Turkish capital, Turgut Altinok from the ruling party and Mansur Javash from the RNP are facing each other.
Altinok was born in 1962. He studied law in Azerbaijan and entered politics at the age of 25, becoming the chairman of the Nationalist Labor Party branch in Kecioren, a district of Ankara, he is currently the mayor of Kecioren.
Mansur Javash has a more impressive business card. Born in 1955 and studying law at Istanbul University, Yavash currently has the highest approval rating of any Turkish politician at 61%. In 2020, Yavash received a satisfaction rating of 73.2%, which is higher than that of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu or President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the highest among mayors surveyed by Gazete Duvar.
In 2014, he lost the mayoral election in Ankara by only 1%. He and the European Court of Human Rights are challenging the election due to alleged fraud and irregularities.
In 2019, Yavash became the first RPP mayor of Ankara after 25 years of AKP rule, receiving 50.9% of the vote against his rival's 47.1%.
In Izmir, Hamza Dag of AKP and Cemil Tugay of RNP are leading the race.
Dag was born in 1980 and graduated in law at 9 September University in Izmir. He works as a freelance lawyer. He is the founder of the Group of Lawyers for Change. 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th term of office of deputy in Izmir. He was a member of the Human Rights Review Commission. He is married and has four children
Tugai was born in 1967, the current mayor of Karshyaka. He is a doctor and graduated from Ege University Faculty of Medicine. He was the chairman of the Commission on Special Medicine at the Medical Chamber in Izmir, a member of the Branch of Special Doctors at the Turkish Medical Association, the chairman of the branch of the Turkish Medical Association and the Board of Directors of the Association of Plastic Surgery in the Aegean Region. /BGNES