Turkey: Istanbul mayoral debate set for next Sunday

Turkey's ruling and opposition party candidates for the coveted Istanbul mayor's seat are set to meet this weekend in a live televised debate, party officials announced Monday.

Binali Yildirim, candidate of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, and Ekrem Imamoglu, for the Republican People's Party (CHP), will face off on Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. (1800GMT), in a debate set to be aired live across multiple Turkish channels.

Veteran journalist Ismail Kucukkaya will serve as moderator, Mahir Unal, the AK Party's deputy chair, told reporters.

The debate's format will give each candidate equal time to answer the same questions, said Engin Altay, the CHP's deputy group chair.

Technical services for the live broadcast will be done by a joint technical team assigned by both parties that does not belong to any TV channel, he added.

With input from the party leaders, the parties signed an agreement on the debate after two days of talks, said the AK Party and CHP officials.

After local elections held throughout Turkey on March 31, Turkish poll officials ruled that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality mayor's race had to be held again, due to irregularities and violations of election law.

Some 16 million people live in Istanbul, Turkey's financial capital, easily making it also the nation's largest city by population.

Source: Anadolu Agency