The opposition’s victory in Turkey’s local elections was a blow to Erdogan Foreign countries

The oppositions victory in Turkeys local elections was a blow

According to the researcher, the result gives hope to Turkish democracy. The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, became the first challenger for the presidency.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan The AKP party suffered a stinging defeat in the country’s local elections on Sunday. The election victory of the main opposition party CHP was historic, as the AKP had been the largest party in elections nationwide every time during Erdogan’s more than 20-year reign.

President Erdoğan acknowledged that the election results were a turning point for Turkey, but promised to respect the results.

– Unfortunately, we did not get the results we wanted, he said at the election conference in Ankara.

The most important reason for the AKP’s election loss has been Turkey’s dire economic situation. Inflation hovers at 67 percent, and the lira is devalued.

– People have reacted especially to inflation and the collapse of purchasing power. It’s probably partly also the fact that the core supporters make a difference between the president and the party. This in itself does not necessarily indicate the popularity of President Erdoğan, senior researcher at the Institute for Foreign Policy Toni Alaranta told STT on Monday.

Challenger from Istanbul

An important goal of the AKP in the elections was to take back the post of mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. However, the opposite happened: the CHP won the mayoral elections in the country’s largest cities and also expanded its support base to many of the AKP’s traditional support areas. Alaranta believes that the CHP succeeded in wooing conservative voters better than before.

At the local level, according to CNN Türk, CHP got about 34 percent and AKP about 32 percent of the votes. Regarding the mayoral elections, the figures were around 38 percent and around 35 percent.

Istanbul’s popular mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu got about 51 percent of the vote, and tens of thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate his victory.

– I hope that the AKP will lose completely in Turkey and that it will be removed from power, İmamoğlu told his supporters.

In the eyes of many experts, İmamoğlu became Erdoğan’s main challenger at the latest, considering the next presidential election, which will be held in 2028. There have been attempts to reach the top of national politics from the post of Istanbul mayor before, and according to Alaranna, İmamoğlu will now emerge as a significant national political leader alongside Erdoğan.

Elections still matter

According to Alaranta, the election result is a positive sign for Turkish democracy. According to him, the result gives hope that a more democratic system can be restored at the state level as well.

– It shows that elections still matter, Alaranta said.

In recent years, Turkey has been described as a competitive authoritarian state. Although the state institutions are strongly controlled by President Erdogan and the AKP, the election results cannot be manipulated on a large scale.

– Erdoğan cannot exercise power without elections, it is important for his exercise of power that elections take place and that he succeeds in them. That’s why it’s always a big problem for him if the opposition gets stronger even at the local election level.

However, according to Alaranta, the result will not overnight change Turkey’s political system, which is still firmly in the grip of Erdoğan. The opposition’s room for maneuver is still limited, but the opportunities for action may improve somewhat.