This week Ciarán has left Hugh to his own devices where he asks Google whether Turkey even has elections

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Show Notes

Turkish Local Elections

For context when you Google Turkey from the UK you get in the “People also ask section”: “Does Turkey have elections?” and “Is there democracy in Turkey” Needless to say some people will dispute this either way. The AKP aren’t known for their chillness

So they did still win…

Like with other examples of strongman led governments (cough Orban) we have the continuous problem that Erdoğan and his “Justice” and “Development” party is popular. It’s not like they’re running away with big majorities or the country is particularly gerrymandered, he comes away with vote shares which in certain countries with unfair voting systems bring large majorities and power. Erdoğan won the presidency with 52% of the vote and the AKP run a minority government in the parliament

Across the country they came away with ~42% of councilors on a similar share of the vote.

Erdoğan may not have absolute power but has a record of using what he has in garbage ways

Let’s not forget the immense brutal crackdown of the general public and especially the media following the coup attempt in 2016. This lead to a perpetual state of emergency so they could get their referendum through and giving Erdoğan’s office of the presidency most of the country’s power, removing the prime minister role altogether.

With great power comes blame for everything bad

Turkey is in a recession

Regional separations

the local elections also proved that Turkey has millions of people who are ideological voters. A typical ideological voter rarely changes his or her political party. For example, the AKP easily secured a high percentage of the vote in cities such as Erzurum, Konya and Gaziantep, despite them feeling the most adverse effects of the recession in the country. But the CHP also has many loyal ideological voters in cities such as Izmir and Edirne. Similarly, the HDP is always supported in Kurdish-majority cities.

NB: Ahval is at least partially funded by the UAE so wee grain of salt, but I’m not sure how a multi-lingual newish Turkish news portal is supposed to make a lot of money. Their editor in chief seems fine

So what?

Well they lost the mayoralty of the capital by 3%, which is a big deal. Other losses were in larger Turkish cities.

The big problem is Istanbul… The margin there was under a percent. The main opposition Republican People’s Party candidate won but the AKP are demanding a recount. Things have gotten violent.

This in particular was a surprise because state media was heavily covering AKP candidates and not really the opposition…


“The problem is not the recount of votes, but the rejection of objections when the (AKP) wins, and their acceptance when it loses,” Deniz Zeyrek of the opposition Sozcu newspaper wrote on Twitter.