Constantinople and Bursa saved the prestige of the Turkish President
Wounds the defeats in Ankara Adana and Smyrna
In the municipal elections in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan managed to keep his most important electoral castle, Istanbul, but he lost important large municipalities that he had under his control, such as Ankara, Antalya and Adana (the latter was governed by his party’s ally, the MHP). He also lost Izmir, which the ruling party has never won. But the victory of the AK Party on another big city, Bursa with 49%, is considered a major success by the government camp.
Despite these defeats, in the municipalities across the country, with 65 per cent of the vote, the ruling AKP Party has received 46.2 per cent and its ally, the MHP 5.89 per cent, which means its rates remained more or less at the same levels as the ones received in the presidential elections in 2018. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) received 30.4% of the vote and the Good Party (Iyi parti) 6.78%.
With the depreciation of the Turkish lira, with inflation in fruits and vegetables exceeding 100%, maintaining the rates at the same levels is seen as a personal success for Erdogan. Erdogan’s nationalist rhetoric and the candidacy of former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim seem to have overturned many predictions and managed to keep Istanbul of 18 million people, which has been under his control since 1994. With 85% of the vote accounted for, Yildirim received 49.7% of the vote, while his opponent of Ekrem Imamoglu 47.7%.
In Ankara, opposition candidate Mansur Yavas received 49.8% of the vote, while AKP’s ruling party, Mehmet Ozhaseki, received 47.6% of the vote.
In Izmir, which is considered to be the Kemalist stronghold, CHP candidate Mustafa Tunc Soyer received 58.1%, while AKP candidate Nihat Zeybekci received 38.1%.
But the defeat in other major cities is a message of warning, without affecting the prestige of the President.
Heads were turned by the reduction in the percentage of the pro-Kurdish HDP party in the cities of southeast Turkey.
A major winner of the election is the MHP nationalists which won 10 Turkish municipalities, in which the AKP did not have a candidate.
Nationalist rhetoric and threats against Erdogan helped in the election result
According to the first estimates of political analysts, the preservation of the rates on a national level is the result of the nationalist rhetoric that Erdogan launched immediately after the terrorist strike in New Zealand. The threats against the Turkish president in the terrorist’s manifesto and the constant reference to them by Erdogan, seem to work towards rallying voters, which coupled with Erdogan’s promise to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque, changed the pre-election agenda, dragging the opposition in it. At the same time, the raw of the Turkish president with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rallied hardcore voters.
In recent days, unemployment, expensiveness, the devaluation of the Turkish lira and the possible tough economic measures that the Turkish government might take to save the Turkish economy have not been discussed at all.
The defeat of the Kurds
The big loser of these elections is the pro-Kurdish HDP party, which received only 3.71% of the vote and lost an important stronghold of the city of Sirnak. However, HDP’s chairman Selahattin Demitras is imprisoned in Adrianople’s prisons, while dozens of mayors have been stripped of their office, accused of having affiliations with the PKK, greatly weakening the organization of the party.
Analysts say voters sent a warning message to Erdogan, but they did not want to weaken him overmuch, because they still trust him in matters of the country’s governance and economic management.
From now on, Erdogan has four and a half years to rule Turkey, to regroup and lead the country to presidential elections.
The Communist Mayor of Turkey
A major election winner is Communist Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu who won the Ovacık city of Tunceli and will be the first communist mayor of a prefecture in Turkey, having won 32.3% of the vote./ibna