A significant blow to Erdogan – Delphi

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Elections were held across Turkey on Sunday, which determined who will hold the positions of mayors of cities and districts, as well as heads of other local government bodies, for the next five years. After summing up the results of the general vote, it was necessary to state the defeat of the party led by RT Erdogan, which happened for the first time since 2002 – the beginning of the party’s participation in the elections. It is noted that the AKP has lost support even in those regions that were previously considered its main electorate.

“This is the biggest defeat,” summed up Murat Somer, a professor of political science and international relations at Istanbul’s Ozyegin University, as quoted by CNN.

According to Mr. Somer, in this case, not only specific numbers are important, but also the fact that RT Erdogan used all available power in order to help his party win the elections.

Although RT Erdogan was not on the list of candidates this time, the vote that took place is largely seen as a test to show whether the AKP is able to win over the cities whose support it lost during the 2019 elections.

Although RT Erdogan’s role in these elections is obvious (the president’s face was displayed on posters next to the images of candidates for local government posts, and in the last days of the campaign he himself participated in campaign rallies in Istanbul), Ekrem Imamoglu won with a huge margin of votes.

It can be said that now not only have the number of local government representatives supporting the AKP line on which RT Erdogan could rely decreased, but also a rival who could become a serious competitor in the upcoming presidential elections has appeared, whose popularity and influence, as it has just become clear, has grown noticeably.

“E. Imamoglu, I would say, would even be a very serious opponent,” said Ahmet Kasim Han, a political scientist from Beykoz University in Istanbul, who was interviewed by CNN even before the election.

AK Han added that E. Imamoglu has to fight this time despite any difficulties and unfavorable conditions.

Sunday’s election results are a red card for RT Erdogan and his policies, Somer said in an interview with CNN.

“He seems to have lost touch with the people,” the political scientist said, referring to a president who has had advantages over opponents because of the favorable sentiment of public officials, foundations and the media.

However, this circumstance, according to Mr. Somer, could give voters the impression of injustice.

Turkey’s municipal elections took place amid the country’s economic recession, which continues even after RT Erdogan, re-elected in May 2023, moved to more conservative economic policies.

After the results of the vote began to be revealed, RT Erdogan stated that he intends to explain the reasons for his defeat.

RT Erdogan conceded defeat in the country’s local elections on Sunday, saying the vote was a “turning point” for his party after two decades of rule.

Opposition Istanbul Mayor E. Imamoglu announced that he had been re-elected with almost all votes counted, telling a euphoric crowd of supporters: “Tomorrow a new day of spring will dawn in our country.”

RT Erdogan, 70, has waged a personal campaign to win back Istanbul, the economic powerhouse of which he once served as mayor. However, massive inflation and economic crisis undermined confidence in the ruling party.

Huge crowds filled the square outside the opposition party’s headquarters in Istanbul, waving Turkish flags and burning torches in celebration of the results.

After casting his vote, Imamoglu went outside to applause and chants of “Everything will be fine,” the slogan he used when he first took over the city hall from the AKP in 2019.

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, also of the CHP, declared victory in front of a large crowd of supporters, declaring: “The election is over, we will continue to serve Ankara.”

“Those who were ignored sent a clear message to those who run this country,” he added.

Elections in Turkey

Opposition supporters also celebrated the victory in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, as well as in the southern city of Antalya. The results show that the AKP may lose even in those cities that were considered the party’s stronghold.

“The voters decided to change the face of Turkey,” said CHP chairman Ozgur Ozel after the results were announced. “They want to open the door to a new political climate in our country.”

About 61 million of people had the right to vote for mayors in 81 Turkish provinces, as well as members of provincial councils and other local officials.

Inflation in Turkey is 67 percent, and the lira has fallen from 19 to 32 per US dollar during the year.

Clashes in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast have left one person dead and 12 injured, a local official told AFP.

The pro-Kurdish DEM party said it had found irregularities in “almost all Kurdish provinces”, particularly suspicious cases of proxy voting.

Observers from France were not allowed to enter one of the polling stations in the region, according to the legal association MLSA.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: significant blow Erdogan Delphi

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