Elections in Turkey

Posted by on Apr 10, 2024 in Stuff You Should Know, World

Local elections were held in the Middle East nation of Turkey on Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hoped his party, AKP, would win elections in Turkey’s major cities. However, the main opposition party, known as CHP, achieved significant victories in key cities like Istanbul and the nation’s capital of Ankara. This election marked the first time Erdogan’s party suffered widespread defeat across the country since he came to power 21 years ago.  

The mayoral race in Istanbul was between CHP candidate and current mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and challenger Murat Kurum from AKP. Erdogan had once served as mayor of Istanbul and campaigned heavily for Kurum. However, Imamoglu won reelection for a second term. Imamoglu’s victory was especially notable as he won over 50 percent of the vote.  

A Change in Turkish Politics? 

CHP also won the mayor’s office in several other major cities, including Izmir, Adana, Antalya, and Bursa. These victories represent a significant setback for Erdogan and AKP and may signal a shift in Turkish politics.  

The election turnout was high, with millions of Turks, including many first-time voters, participating in the democratic process. In total, it is estimated that around 76 percent of registered voters took part in the election. Many voters cited economic issues as their primary concern heading to the ballot box. Interest rates and inflation are high in Turkey. The CHP chairperson praised the voters for starting a change in Turkish politics. He emphasized the desire for a new political climate in the country.  

Erdogan’s Reaction to Losses  

Waist-up view of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey

President Erdogan acknowledged the defeat and vowed to respect the election results. He referred to it as a turning point for the nation. While serving as Turkey’s president, Erdogan has wielded a lot of political influence. But now he faces a challenge from directly elected mayors who hold considerable influence in their cities. Erdogan has pledged to make changes to his party to regain the trust of Turkey’s people.  

Despite this pledge, the election result has raised doubts about Erdogan’s future political goals. Supporters view Ekrem Imamoglu and Mamsur Yavas–the newly elected mayors of Istanbul and Ankara– as potential candidates for the presidency in the future.  

Dig Deeper  Using the Internet, research the history of President Erdogan’s time as Turkey’s president. List some positive and some negative opinions about his rule. Provide examples and reasoning to support your assessment.