President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the local election a matter of “national survival”. His opponents were called terrorists and traitors. His grip on the media resulted in overwhelming positive coverage in the run-up to the election. Yet although his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nationally won just over 51% of the votes on an 84% turnout, the loss of major cities is a moment of truth for Turkey’s authoritarian president. Ankara, the capital was won by the opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP). Istanbul, Erdoğan’s birthplace and former stronghold, is holding a recount demanded by the President. So far the CHP maintains its narrow lead.