Erdogan Pushes to Cement His Hold on Turkey

Jun 5, 2019 | 20:29 GMT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan campaigns for Justice and Development Party candidates in Ankara on March 28, 2019.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the governing Justice and Development Party pushed for a do-over of this spring's mayoral election in Istanbul. A loss in the June 23 revote could prove more crushing for them than the initial loss they suffered on March 31.

(ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)


  • The annulment of the March 31 mayoral election in Istanbul and the ordering of a do-over on June 23 raises questions about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government's willingness to recognize election results that do not produce favorable outcomes.
  • If the opposition candidate again wins the Istanbul mayoral election, there is a chance that Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party will not recognize the outcome and will appoint a caretaker appointee.
  • Erdogan and the ruling party seem determined to maintain their hold on Istanbul, which has served as a base of power for the party and offers lucrative financial resources.

Turkey's Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) last month narrowly voted to annul the results of the March 31 mayoral race in Istanbul and schedule a new election. So, on June 23, voters in Turkey's largest city will once again go to the polls to elect their next mayor. Under strong pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle, the YSK cited unsubstantiated polling irregularities to justify the revote, thus underscoring a point that many Turkey watchers have long cautioned was coming: For the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), some electoral outcomes are only fair and valid if the AKP wins. Just as they did three months ago, the same candidates of the Republican People's Party and the AKP are running to be mayor of Istanbul in what is expected to be another highly contentious race....

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