Winds of political change in Turkey?

In his latest blog, our Žiga Faktor focuses on Ekrem İmamoğlu's election win in the mayoral election in Istanbul and the future of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's presidency.

  • It was a sight not often seen in Turkey in the past decades. On the night of June 23rd, streets of Istanbul were filled by tens of thousands of opposition supporters celebrating what could be a massive political victory. Ekrem İmamoğlu, candidate of Republic People’s Party (CHP), was to become city’s new mayor after receiving over 54% of votes in a re-run of municipal elections for one of the most important political positions in the country, ending a 25-year rule of Justice and Development Party (AKP) over Turkey’s largest city, a city that in 1994 gave a rise to the figure of current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

What were the reasons for İmamoğlu’s win? Turkish mayoral elections showed that democracy is still deeply rooted in people’s minds and that Erdoğan’s autocratic measures have in many places reached the ceiling of people’s tolerance, especially in larger cities, which are traditionally more secular and liberal. There is an ever-growing division of population caused by the government’s rule in the last two decades, which is best visible in the recent election result, as Istanbul, capital Ankara and CHP’s bastion Izmir, three largest cities in Turkey, all elected opposition candidates, while AKP maintained the offices in more conservative parts of country.

Still, İmamoğlu placed himself as a leading representative of the opposition, gaining a lot of support with his moderate approach, tranquillity and positiveness, all represented in his campaign slogan “Her şey çok güzel olacak” simply translated into “Everything’s going to be great”. As next elections in Turkey are only planned in four years, a resurgence of CHP does not need to cause a major headache to Erdoğan yet, but if İmamoğlu continues to add on his popularity in years to come, he will most surely be a serious competitor in the run for the presidency in 2023.

You can read the whole blog here.

#Turkey #Istanbul #Erdogan #Imamoglu



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