Erdogan's candidate defeated in Istanbul election after government-forced redo

Photo: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's preferred candidate for mayor of Istanbul was defeated on Sunday, an embarrassing blow to the strongman's ruling Justice and Development Party two months after election officials gave in to his controversial request for a rerun, AP reports.

Why it matters: The initial decision to redo the election was viewed as a significant blow to Turkey's already damaged democracy. But Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute tells the New York Times that Sunday's result "shows democracy is resilient and elections still matter. [The opposition candidate Ekrem] Imamoglu won with a landslide — a 10-point lead — even though Erdogan mobilized all the state resources in this election."

U.S. to remove Turkey from F-35 program over Russian missile deal

In this image, Trump and Erdogan walk together outside while talking, both wearing suits.
President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The U.S. will block Turkey from purchasing F-35 aircraft and halt the training of Turkish military pilots, the AP reports. The move comes in response to Turkey's plan to buy an advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Dave Lawler: Turkey is a NATO ally, but relations with the U.S. have deteriorated sharply amid conflicts on a variety of issues, including Syria. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hedged his bets by growing closer to Moscow, and antagonized Washington in the process. This relationship is on increasingly shaky ground.