Local wins by Erdoğan foes could herald sea-change – Asia Times

Local wins by Erdoğan foes could herald sea-change - Asia Times

Prior to the March 31 municipal elections, there was a conflict between the status quo and shift. In retrospect, it can be said that the event has caused a previously unheard of change in Greek politics. This is not just because the outcomes have resulted in operational shifts across 29 regions, but also because it represents a significant change in regional power relationships.

For the first time in over two decades, the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party ( CHP), surpassed Erdoğan’s conservative Justice and Development Party ( AKP ) on a national scale, capturing 37.77 % of the vote. The expansion of its effect beyond its traditional industrial heartlands to areas long considered hotbeds of the ruling AKP, what made its victory traditional.

Erdoğan’s group clings to hideouts

Erdoan’s party remained strong in its traditional fortifications in northern Anatolia and continued to prosper in the southeast Asian provinces affected by the double quake in February 2023, most notably in Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, despite losing some provinces in the area.

However, its electoral losses are tied to both the CHP’s method and the accomplishments of those political parties that backed Erdozan in the election of last year. However, the March 31 results highlight a substantial shift within the correct- conservative area, also.

The successes of the more extremist factions, represented by the Islamist Yeniden Refah Partisi ( YRP ) and the Nationalist Movement Party ( MHP), show discontent on both sides of Erdoğan’s electorate. People who think the AKP has taken an excessive liberal attitude on faith and patriotism have shifted to the YRP and MHP in this election.

Conversely, those who opted not to support the AKP for economic reasons have shifted to the Republican People’s Party ( CHP).

Exploiting these drifts within the right- conservative camp, for the first time the CHP made a breakthrough in municipalities such as Bursa ( northwest ), Afyon ( west ), and Adiyaman ( southwest ). Although this expansion may have been primarily due to the candidates ‘ poor financial performance and their poor choices, it also signaled a growing support base for the opposition, even in traditionally traditional areas.

This pattern also manifested itself in Istanbul’s districts. In addition to reelecting Mayor Ekrem Imamolu, the CHP also succeeded in winning elections in historically conservative areas like Üskudar ( Asian Side ) and Beyolu ( European Side ).

An goal that is affected by various elements

Additionally, these elections once more demonstrated how crucial the Kurdish voting is for shaping the outcome of votes. As evidenced by both its ballot discuss and the number of counties won compared to five years ago, the pro-Kurdish and left-wing group DEM increased its aid in the south of the nation, along the border with Syria and Iraq.

The goal of the elections was impacted by a number of factors. The opposition successfully highlighted the distinction between regional economic achievements and national economic issues as the economic situation came into focus. At the same time, in- party dynamics even played a part.

Turkey’s main opposition group, the CHP, responded to its followers ‘ hopes for change after several political costs under the command of Kemal Kilicdaroğlu. By appointing Özgür Özel as the new director and elevating the characteristics of personable politicians like Imamoğlu and Ankara’s Mansur Yavaş, who oppose Turkey’s shift toward monarchy, the group has made significant strides in appealing to citizens.

Turkey, known for its high electoral turnout, saw a slight decrease in voter participation, with rates falling from 84 % in 2019 to 78 % now, reaching the lowest level since 2004. This reduction mainly reflected the discontent among Erdoğan’s group supporters, many of whom expressed dissatisfaction with the country’s economic path. Promises of overall improvements went unfulfilled, fueling voting disillusionment, mainly from the more vulnerable populace segments, such as resigned and poor people.

A variation between Erdoğan and his group

With Erdoğan never being a strong candidate, AKP’s followers seemed to have made a difference between the head and the group. Despite his direct candidacy, Erdoan’s very personal campaign failed to pique his support, highlighting a need for social change and renewal. This might be a result of the national system’s introduction, which has more power in the hands of the president with every passing year.

This was clearly demonstrated in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast region, where the political campaign focused on opposing the exercise of appointing authorities officials in place of mayors who had won past municipal elections.

The regional elections in Turkey exemplify the traditional notion of” checks and balances” of political systems, which have less room at the administrative level, in a dynamic authoritarian system where the government’s power is almost unchecked. Erdoan has often argued that the ballot box helped him establish his authority and legitimacy, but this time he received an unanticipated answer.

The Greek voters, known for their sturdy civil society engagement, have become a vital pressure against the country’s drift toward autocratic rule. By taking action, they have helped make a more sensible political environment, reducing the supremacy of any one great.

A strong political endurance

It is not by chance that Istanbul’s Imamoğlu began his election speech by saying,” As we celebrate our victory, we send a message to the world: the reduction of politics is over”. This demonstrates that Turkey demonstrated a strong political endurance despite the lower turnout, which confirms the importance of the ballot for its residents and the need for its rulers to win actual popular support.

The CHP’s traditional success signals a transition in the social dynamics, with economic discontent, management registration and governance concerns driving a large swath of the electorate toward the opposition. The post-election process will undoubtedly not be straightforward despite these elections having produced an unprecedented result for the opposition in Turkey.

Erdoan and his party will rule Turkey until 2028. That is why, until that date, the opposition needs to focus on two main points:

  • promoting a depolarizing narrative intended to break the traditional secularist-conservative divide that has plagued Turkey’s electorate for years, and
  • developing a long-term strategy to address voters ‘ most pressing issues, such as the economy and unemployment, that might have a lasting impact beyond religious cleavages and traditional identity.

The outcome of the election signals a crucial change and an increasing desire for change among its citizens that could change the country’s political trajectory as Turkey progresses. The question is whether the opposition, who is caught between having less political freedom and having more responsibilities, can successfully manage the support given by the electorate.

At the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Catholic University of Milan, Samuele Carlo Ayrton Abrami and Riccardo Gasco are both PhD candidates in institutions and policies.

This article was republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.