Five takeaways from Turkey’s March 31 local elections

Photo Credit: AA

Turkey’s opposition bloc led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), defeat Erdogan and his ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections. In the local election held on Sunday, the CHP candidates declared a victory in the major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Mersin, Bilecik, and Kirsehir.

The loss of the city of Istanbul and Ankara to Turkey’s main opposition party is a huge personal blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who his party controls these two cities for almost 25 years. Istanbul is the center of the Turkish economy and the biggest contributor to Turkey’s economy. In 2017, the city provided $266 billion, in economic output, almost one-third of Turkey’s total GDP, according to the Ministry of Treasury and Finance of Turkey. The Istanbul municipality, known as Istanbul Belediye Baskanligi, is one of the largest employers in the country with nearly 20,000 people working for central organizations. The organizations is owns more than 30 big companies including Igdas, the city’s natural gas supplier, road builder Isfalt, and Ispark, which is the parking authority in the city.

  • Erdogan may have lost some big and major cities, but the AKP and its far-right ally won overall, taking nearly 52 percent of the total vote.
  • The Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lost three of its initially controlled cities to AKP and one to the Turkish Communist Party. The party’s total vote from 11 percent in 2015 decreased to 4.5 percent. However, this was due to the party’s strategy to support CHP bloc in the big cities, in which HDP did not nominate any candidates.
  • One of the main reasons for CHP’s victory in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Adana, and Mersin was the Pro-Kurdish HDP supports.
  • CHP has won 21 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, and these 21 provinces are account for 62.1% of Turkey’s GDP.
  • In Istanbul, after counting 98.8 percent of the votes that the AKP candidate was ahead the Turkish state news agency (AA) stopped updating the results for Istanbul until the next day because the remaining votes were going to move CHP’s candidate to the first place.

International Security and the Middle East Studies Penn State and IU Alumni. “Authoritarian and hybrid regimes, elections, terror groups and National Security”