MENA Salon: Turkey's Municipal Elections - A New Beginning?

Workshop | April 12 | 3-4 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall

 Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Every Friday the CMES hosts an informal guided discussion of current events in the Middle East and North Africa, open to all.

Turkey held municipal elections on Sunday March 31st after a highly polarized campaigning process, spearheaded by the People’s Alliance of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and Devlet Bahceli’s Nationalist Action Party. Being the first elections after the new presidential regime’s consolidation, intensified by divisive rhetoric, and held at a time where the country is shaken by a fluctuating currency and undergoing an economic recession, the elections came to be treated as a litmus test for the People's Alliance. To the surprise of many, the opposing Nation Alliance seems to have succeeded in gaining control of five out of the six most populated metropolitan municipalities in the country. Among these are Istanbul and Ankara, which have shaped Erdogan’s political career and have been ruled by candidates of Erdogan’s JDP. Similar to the 2018 general elections, strategic alliances among parties have played a significant role. Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party’s imprisoned ex-chair, Selahattin Demirtas, encouraged voting, which has been especially effective for oppositional candidates in Western provinces. The elections aftermath is still underway, and the results may have widespread national and international effects. In this week’s MENA Salon, we will discuss the latest developments, as well as address what implications the elections may carry for Turkey's political future.

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