The elections of local authorities were held on March 31 in this year, where the coalition of “Justice” and Development” and “Nationalist movement” parties lost the position of the mayor of Istanbul though they got 51.64% votes.[i]
The candidate of opposite “Republic-Democratic” party Ekrem Imamoğlu won a few votes more (according to published final results 14K votes)[ii] and was elected as a mayor of Istanbul leaving the second place to the candidate of AK party Binali Yıldırım. However, the processes after the elections have said that president Erdoğan isn’t going to lose the heart of the country so easily and give it to the party which was created by Kemal Atatürk and now advocates secular rules.
Immediately after the results were shown AK and MPH appealed, and the recount of votes took place in 18 regions of Istanbul on 3 April[iii], but the results didn’t give conventional ones. On 16 April above mentioned two parties applied to the “Highest Election Committee” for cancelation the elections taking place on 31 March and making new elections.[iv] The decision of the HEC on 6 May[v]to accept the application has become the new level of after-elective crisis. During last days The Government of Turkey is busy with responding to the international charges about shaking democratic values.
The circumstances that presidents and members of elective places were not political servers are meant in the legal basis of the decision of HEC, whereas there is an appointed article Law about that. One of the first people, who respond to the conclusion, was Ekrem Imamoğlu, who assumed mayor’s liabilities on 17 April. Imamoğlu, strictly criticizing the decision, told that the same structure held previous presidential elections and the elections for changings of Constitution, so their results should also be under doubt.[vi]The international response wasn’t late, either. General Secretary of CE Thorbjorn Jagland considered the decision of HEC as a “big danger for the electors’ trust” on 7 May. Deputy of European Parliament the reporter about Turkey Kati Piri blamed governing party and Erdoğan for pressing the HEC.[vii]EU top-level functionaries Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn took under doubt the legal basics in their announcement and hoped that Turkey would provide international observers’ existence in further elections.[viii]There are high-qualified critical responses from Germany[ix] and the USA[x], where they shared their concerns about the endangering the democratic values. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey has exhorted to respect the approved decision.
The Erdoğan’s favorite expression, “The winner in Istanbul, is the winner in the whole Turkey,” has precisely shown the importance of this city in the country. As the Istanbul has 15mln population and is the economic, cultural, financial substantial beneficiary, powering party and president Erdoğan are ready to do everything possible even bear such international and internal-political hard critiques to keep it. Besides, the mayor’s position is essential for Erdoğan as it has become the beginning of the political upgrade.
The decision on holding an election is a risky step for powering party as Imamoğlu’s rising authority strengthens in this situation. Imamoğlu has many coadjutors who raise demonstration in different regions of the city immediately after the decision was made public. However, AK shouldn’t be underestimated. The latter has waged and will do everything possible for winning successfully at this time till the new elections on 23 June.
[ii] İşte İstanbuldaki 21 ilçede yeniden sayılacak 51 sandık (2019 yerel seçim),NTV,09.04.2019 https://www.ntv.com.tr/2019-yerel-secim/iste-istanbuldaki-21-ilcede-yeniden-sayilacak-51-sandik-2019-yerel-secim,DmvWGzZcJUWuS1RSZgHOng
[iii]“Son dakika… İstanbul’da 18 ilçede oylar yeniden sayılıyor”, Hürriyet
[iv] “Son dakika… AK Parti’den YSK’ya İstanbul için olağanüstü itiraz başvurusu sonrası ilk açıklama”, Hürriyet, 17.04.19 http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/son-dakika-ak-partiden-yskya-istanbul-icin-olaganustu-itiraz-basvurusu-41184750
[v] “YSK, İstanbul seçmlerinin yenilenmesine karar verdi”, Anadolu Ajansı, 06.05.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/ysk-istanbul-secimlerinin-yenilenmesine-karar-verdi-/1471878
[vi] “Son dakika… Ekrem İmamoğlu’dan YSK kararı sonrası açıklama”, HABERTURK,07.05.19/https://www.haberturk.com/son-dakika-istanbul-buyuksehir-belediye-baskani-ekrem-imamoglu-ndan-tek-kelimelik-yorum-2453800
[vii] “Son dakika… Ekrem İmamoğlu’dan YSK kararı sonrası açıklama” , HABERTURK,07.05.19/https://www.haberturk.com/son-dakika-istanbul-buyuksehir-belediye-baskani-ekrem-imamoglu-ndan-tek-kelimelik-yorum-2453800
[viii]” YSK kararına AB ve Almanya’dan tepkiler sürüor”, DW Türkçe, 07.05.19/https://www.dw.com/tr/ysk-karar%C4%B1na-ab-ve-almanyadan-tepkiler-s%C3%BCr%C3%BCyor/a-48631750
[ix] ” YSK kararına AB ve Almanya’dan tepkiler sürüor”, DW Türkçe, 07.05.19/https://www.dw.com/tr/ysk-karar%C4%B1na-ab-ve-almanyadan-tepkiler-s%C3%BCr%C3%BCyor/a-48631750
[x] “ABD: Sağlıklı bir Türk demokrasisi herkesin çıkarına”, DW Türkçe , 08.05.19/https://www.dw.com/tr/abd-sa%C4%9Fl%C4%B1kl%C4%B1-bir-t%C3%BCrk-demokrasisi-herkesin-%C3%A7%C4%B1kar%C4%B1na/a-48646079
Author: Anahit Karapetyan. ©All rights reserved
Translator: Tamara Karapetyan