Istanbul vote signals shift in Erdogan’s dominance in Turkey
New mayor, new life! At least, that’s how it feels in Istanbul. Change, hope, and a new beginning. At least, that is what the newly elected Istanbul mayor promises.
Ekrem Imamoglu won the repeated mayoral vote and that it makes a great reason for Turkey’s opposition to raise its head. The Imamoglu’s victory cheered up that part of Turkish citizens who still believed it is possible to restore the country’s democracy. And it proved it is actually possible to win at the ballot box despite many doubted that.
The real meaning of the revote is not as much about the mayor’s position, but about the very idea of having an opportunity for a democratic vote. The mayor elections actually proved that despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, being in charge for so long, the democratic process of a fair vote has survived in Turkey.
And, if we come back to the newly elected mayor, the victory gave him the power over the financial center of Turkey.
This victory is in fact much more than just the opposition filling the position. It is also about all the mistakes Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) while preparing for the vote. Maybe he and his party got too confident?
The decision to rerun the elections was heavily criticized in the first place. The political system that was leaning more and more to having one man control everything, in combination with the economy facing hard times made people want to change things. And the result of the vote showed that even Erdogan, who seems to be invincible, can be knocked off the perch.
The rule of Erdogan has been lasting for 16 years now and that period has definitely influenced Turkey and Turkish politics. His desire to have all the power on the hands of a single person distressed Turkish democracy and made it a joke as he kept winning elections one after another.