Home World Erdogan endures humiliating election defeat – but what does it mean for...

Erdogan endures humiliating election defeat – but what does it mean for Turkey?

President Erdogan’s ironclad grip on Turkish politics appears to be slipping from his hands, after the main opposition party scored stunning successes in local elections over the weekend.

The electoral drubbing – the first major defeat Erdogan’s party has suffered since he came to power 21 years ago – has increased the likelihood that the Turkish leader will retire from politics, once his third term as President expires in 2028.

Mr Erdogan was re-elected to his post last year and said during the campaign that it would be his last term.

However, his critics feared that if his AK Party had prevailed at the municipal elections, then the President would have been encouraged to change the constitution to allow him to stand for a fourth term.

The Turkish leader, who first became President in 2014, has been accused of democratic backsliding and shifting the country towards an authoritarian style of government.

Under his rule, the presidency has amassed sweeping powers, replacing the prime minister.

The Turkish strongman also introduced a severe crackdown on his regime’s opponents in the wake of a failed military coup attempt on July 15th, 2016.

A state of emergency was declared and lasted for two years, during which mass arrests and purges of public employees were carried out.

Some 160,000 people were detained for questioning, of which over 77,000 were formally arrested for alleged links to terror organizations

Military personnel, police, journalists, lawmakers, judges and prosecutors were among those taken into custody.

Erdogan’s government also introduced new anti-terror laws following the failed coup, which still give authorities extensive powers to continue mass purges.

The CHP – the Republican People’s Party – claimed big election victories in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara, as well as winning in Izmir, Adana and the resort of Antalya.

The opposition also secured control of Turkey’s fourth-biggest city Bursa and Balikesir in the north-west, as well as Adiyaman in the south-east.

In Istanbul – whose population makes up almost a fifth of the country’s 85 million inhabitants – jubilant supporters took to the streets to celebrate Ekrem Imamoglu’s re-election as mayor.

Mr Imamoglu, a CHP politician, told the crowd: “I can say that our citizens’ trust and faith in us has been rewarded.”

Yesim Albayrak, a supporter of Mr Imamoglu, said the election results marked a turning point in Turkish politics.

The 25-year-old told the BBC: “They’re only local elections but the opposition’s victory in big cities is a significant show of force against the ruling party.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here