A new era in Turkey

A new era in Turkey

It was a very long night. Who won and who lost may be argued for months to come particularly in regards to the outcome for the seat of Istanbul mayor. Irrespective of who won, if the gap between the two top contenders was only a few thousand votes in a city with 10.6 million eligible voters, and particularly if more than 200,000 ballots were declared invalid, it is obvious that there will be heated debates over the election result for a very long period.

Naturally, neither the victor nor the loser can accept the election result as an earnest reflection of the will of the people. Remembering past irregularity claims, a victory with a few thousand votes is bound to remain questionable.

The Ankara mayoral post is now in opposition hands. Unlike Istanbul, where there were allegations of some serious letup in vote-counting, Mansur Yavaş scored a clear victory.

There were some important advances of the ruling coalition parties, but it was clear that the nation has given a very strong message to the AKP, MHP and, of course, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even if the discussion over who won Istanbul might continue for another day or so, Ankara, Antalya, Adana, Mersin and many other cities that went to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party opposition alliance underline a remarkable demand for change.

Also, was it a simple development that at the trustee-appointed municipalities, people voted to bring back people they wanted? Will the government now move to replace those elected personalities with trustees? Most likely those remarks were part of election propaganda tactics.

These were of course local elections. There will not be a reflection on national politics as there is an executive president just recently elected and has four more years in office and a parliament very difficult to go to an early election. It is clear that the opposition scored far better than it expected or political analysts anticipated. On the other hand, particularly after the August economic-financial attacks on Turkey depleted sharply the value of the Turkish Lira against the dollar, euro and all other foreign currencies, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), faced an uphill battle to win back the sympathy of the poverty-stricken masses.

Indeed, that was what Erdoğan stressed in post-election remarks; that everyone should respect the election results and election campaign period was now over and for the next period until the scheduled 2023 polls Turkey should concentrate on programs to carry it to prosperity and development.

Could Turkey indeed place everything behind, abandon rampant polarization and move towards resolving if not all some of the most outstanding problems crippling its advance? Moving on economy might not be that difficult despite fears of an economic-financial meltdown. However, from the Syria problem to the Turkish-American ties, issues with the EU and, of course, the Cyprus issue, the foreign and defense files of the government are rather crowded with potential crises. Naturally, which one of these problems is domestic and which are foreign policy matters might be a good question for an extensive debate. Idlib, for example, cannot be separated from the domestic security concerns.

Turkey has completed a crucial election under the new administrative system of the country. People delivered their demand for a speedy restoration of normalcy.

Today is a new Turkey…

Turkey elections 2019, local polls, Yusuf Kanlı,