Istanbul — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan knows better than anyone that Turkish cities are the battlegrounds where political fortunes are made and lost. In less than a decade, Erdoğan went from Istanbul mayor to become the country’s most dominant leader in more than 50 years. Now the opposition has prised control of Turkey’s biggest cities from the president’s alliance, Erdoğan will have a harder time catering to the needs of his electoral base, threatening the foundation of his 16-year rule. Erdoğan clings to a narrow lead over his rivals after his AK Party managed to come first nationwide in Sunday’s municipal ballot. With no elections scheduled for more than four years, however, the next period will be a test of just how precarious his position has become after losing cities that are home to at least half of Turkey’s population of 82-million. A major risk is that sway over cities will give the opposition ample time to build bridges across the polarised system fashioned by...

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