The stakes are high today, with elections being held for the mayor of Istanbul, but all political analysts agree that the outcome of the elections will also have a major influence on political developments in the country.
The city of 18 million inhabitants with the 10 million eligible voters always determines the developments and it is certain that this time will be no different. Yildirim’s victory will calm the climate within the ruling party, which in the next 4.5 years has no other electoral confrontation. But if Imamoglu emerges victorious, as the majority of the opinion polls predict, then the ruling party will have finally lost the three major municipalities of Turkey, Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul, a fact that will be considered a serious blow for the ruling party.
But many things can change until Sunday, and what is certain is that the Kurds who live in Istanbul will determine the outcome of the elections. It is no coincidence that after the electoral defeat of April 31, lawyers and relatives of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan were allowed to visit him on the island of Imrali. For 5 years no one had visited him because there was a ban imposed by Turkish Justice. There are already indications that some Kurdish voters are thinking of voting the AKP over Imamoglu who had voted the first time, as the historic PKK leader with his written statement called on the Kurds to abstain from the 23 June elections.
But the imprisoned leader of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, called on the voters his party to vote for Imamoglu.
In the March 31 election, opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won, with 13,000 votes separating him from his rival Binali Yildirim, who is backed by the AKP ruling party and the Party of Nationalist Action (MHP).
The poll by Konda shows that the gap between Ekrem Imamoglu and Binali Yildirim is opening.
According to the new poll, the rate of Ekrem Imamoglu is 54% and 45% for Binali Yildirim.
ADA, which had correctly predicted the outcome of March 31, shows a smaller difference. Imamoglu is ahead with 50.6% vs. 48.3% of Yildirim.
Another pollster company, AK, shows the opposition candidate leading the race with 50.3 against 48.2% of the government’s candidate.
Great increase in the Turks who were banned from voting
An important detail for the election is that according to the Supreme Electoral Council, in today’s elections 68 thousand voters will not be allowed to vote, against the 23,000 voters in the previous elections. The opposition notes that there is an impressive increase in the number of people who can not vote because they have a criminal record, restrictive terms, etc.
There are rumors that the Turkish President may have canceled his 39 pre-election speeches in Istanbul for tactical reasons. as he did not want to confront Imamoglu. His pollsters had asked him not to make many appearances, in order to restrict the attention on Ekrem Imamoglu. AKP’s officials found out that the opposition’s candidate benefited from the controversy and comparison with the Turkish president.
Erdogan maintained this strategy, but on Thursday he launched a verbal attack against Ekrem Imamoglu.
In particular, he accused him of being in line with Muslim imam Fetullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
Having maintained a relatively silent attitude towards the municipal elections in Istanbul in recent weeks, Erdogan said that Imamoglu is in agreement with Gulen’s FETO network.
“What is his position? It is with the Guilenists”, said the Turkish president speaking from the roof of a bus during a rally in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district.
He referred to Imamoglu’s posts on twitter on the day of the failed military coup.
The prospective mayor of CHP has denied any connections with the network of the self-exiled imam.
In a tweet on July 16, 2016, Imamoglu said Turkey must overcome the attempted coup in the pursuit of democracy and peace.
Reminding the crowd of his first election as mayor of Istanbul in 1994, Erdogan said he had since co-operated with Binali Yildirim, expressing his “strong support” to his party candidate in the June 23 election./ibna