Municipal elections in turkey

The results were a huge setback for Turkey’s autocratic ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his attempts at silencing critical and opposition voices in the media and civil society.

The real victor of the elections, as in Poland last November, was democracy which has shown that authoritarianism can be thwarted through the ballot box even when there is an unlevel playing field!

Ekrem Imamoglu was re-elected as mayor of Istanbul, in a highly significant victory for the secular social democrat CHP which hasn't achieved such a score since 1977. Erdogan and his AKP party were punished due to the country’s severe economic crisis with astronomically high inflation and interest rates coupled with a lack of support from the Turkish diaspora, and the rise of Refah, reproaching Erdogan for insufficient support to Palestinians.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe observed generally satisfactory organisation of local elections in Turkey. Although the AKP maintains control over media, judiciary, and state apparatus, these results reflect people’s desire express their views and an attachment to democracy. It remains to be seen if Imamoglu can unify his party beyond the municipal level, especially since presidential elections are not due until 2028.