Turkey municipal elections: a story of two cities

Ultimately, the just lately concluded municipal elections in Turkey has merely changed into a battle for the nation’s two key cities—the capital Ankara and the business hub Istanbul.

Because of fixed media publicity, what ought to have been a neighborhood race between mayoral candidates has changed into one thing rather more fierce. The voting in 30 cities, 51 municipal capitals, and 922 districts throughout the nation on 31 March 2019 has been extensively seen as a fierce battle between the ruling social gathering and the opposition to win management over the 2 most strategic cities in Turkey.

Dwelling for numerous Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological websites, Ankara is the middle of the state-owned corporations, and is situated on the heart of Turkey’s highway and railway networks. Then again, Istanbul, which lies on the European and Asian continents, homes the headquarters of many Turkish personal corporations and accounts for nearly a 3rd of the nation’s gross home product.

Nonetheless, based mostly on preliminary outcomes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Improvement Get together (AKP) had been compelled to confess defeat after shedding Ankara and Istanbul to the opposition. This was a circumstance he might need been frightened about forward of the outcomes on account of his poor administrative efficiency, notably within the financial sector.

Turkey started 2019 with a serious financial downturn and the falling of the Turkish lira. The nation of 81 million folks confronted a recession for the primary time since Erdogan assumed workplace 16 years in the past. Inflation jumped to twenty%, whereas unemployment stood at 13.8% on the finish of 2018. Since final yr, after costs skyrocketed, the federal government was compelled to open meals stalls promoting discounted items for the poor.

Though the ruling social gathering’s total vote share in cities throughout the nation suffered solely a marginal decline, AKP, with its ultranationalist ally, The Nationalist Motion Get together (MHP), nonetheless received greater than 51% of the vote nationwide, a fall of simply 2% from its efficiency in the course of the elections final June.


The defeat in Ankara and Istanbul is a serious blow to the federal government coalition, as these cities are AKP’s political forebears. Within the final 25 years, AKP has by no means misplaced within the capital metropolis and Istanbul is the place Erdogan, the strongman of Turkish politics, started his political profession as a mayor in 1994.

Dropping these two cities, barely a yr after seeing a double victory within the parliamentary and presidential elections final June, says quite a bit about his administration and has tainted his picture as Turkey’s unbeatable chief.

Regardless of AKP’s assertion to attraction to the Excessive Election Physique (YSK), the ultimate arbiter on electoral disputes, for all Istanbul votes to be recounted, the truth that the opposition gained sufficient votes to place a 0.28 level hole in Istanbul is a merciless reminder of the social gathering’s slipping grip over town. It’s also proof of the opposition’s capability to outmaneuver the ruling social gathering by broadening its attraction and reaching out past its common constituencies.

Thus far, the preliminary lead in Istanbul is being held by Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate for the secularist Republican Individuals’s Get together (CHP). He’s forward of his rival, AKP’s candidate and former prime minister, Binali Yildirim.

In Ankara, CHP’s candidate Mansur Yavas had a snug 3.8-point lead over his rival from the ruling social gathering, Mehmet Ozhaseki, with a 50.9 per cent share of the vote, in accordance with the preliminary outcomes.

It is a bitter ending for Erdogan, who held as much as eight marketing campaign rallies a day throughout the nation for the native election, as reported by the media. His relentless campaigns, which have been marked by nationwide safety, terrorism and anti-Western conspiracy narratives—have been dubbed by some as an act of desperation to carry on to energy.

The media reported that Erdogan instructed the elections had been a matter of survival for the nation. His rhetoric created a row with New Zealand within the wake of the lethal mosques assault in Christchurch, which killed 50 folks.

Because the thwarted coup on 15 July 2016, Erdogan has dominated Turkey with an ever-tightening grip by launching a crackdown on alleged coup supporters, the place 1000’s of public staff from authorities officers to academics and journalists had been sacked or arrested on suspicion of stirring up dissent.

“It was the perfect of occasions, it was the worst of occasions,” Charles Dickens –an English author and social critic– wrote within the opening traces of his historic novel, A Story of Two Cities. It isn’t simple. However, wining and shedding are two sides of the identical coin.

Nevertheless, with all of the commotion over Ankara and Istanbul, Erdogan nonetheless has one other 4 years in workplace and sufficient time to be taught from this setback and work out learn how to win again public assist within the two cities.

Consequently, simply hours after the elections, Erdogan was quoted by CNN as saying that the federal government would “make structural reforms to construct a stronger financial system in opposition to assaults”, a promise to appease his supporters and restore his picture as an invulnerable determine in Turkey politics.

Supply By https://en.antaranews.com/information/123713/turkey-municipal-elections-a-tale-of-two-cities

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