In a massive celebration, the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey completed the announcement of its candidates for the upcoming local elections, led by the candidate for the municipality of the capital, Ankara, where the choice fell on the mayor of Kacioran sub-municipal in Ankara, Turgut Altinok.
Complete the candidates
The party had announced in a previous ceremony its candidates for the presidency of 26 municipalities in the country, including 11 “major city” municipalities, led by the Greater Istanbul Municipality, which was chosen by former Environment Minister Murat Kurum, as an expression of the extent of its interest in restoring the largest and most important municipality in the country, as well as the fierceness of the competition for it. .
A few days ago, in a second celebration, the ruling party completed the announcement of its candidates for the remaining municipalities, announcing its candidates for the presidency of 48 municipalities, including 17 major cities, led by the capital, Ankara. Thus, the Justice and Development Party has announced its candidates for the municipalities of 74 governorates, while it has not nominated anyone in the remaining seven governorates, in which it will support the candidates of the National Movement Party allied with it.
Erdogan also announced that his party will announce the electoral statement (programme) at the end of this month, and will complete the announcement of its candidates for sub-municipalities within major cities before the deadline set for the middle of next month. In his lengthy speech, Erdogan did not neglect to mention the importance of local elections, as people got to know him and his companions through the municipalities, and his party began the “journey of serving the people” from them.
Unlike Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, Yavaş focused on his work in the municipality and largely kept himself out of political debates and party bickering, with the exception of the recent presidential election campaign. Therefore, during his years as mayor, there were not many confrontations between him and the Justice and Development Party.
In general, the ruling party preferred the idea of renewal among the candidates, as it did not renew the candidacy of seven current mayors, including the mayors of four major cities, an important part of whom were from the governorates most affected by the devastating earthquake the previous February. With the exception of the governorates of Gaziantep and Urfa, the party did not renew the nomination of any other mayor in the earthquake governorates, in a clear effort to respond to popular anger there, as the municipalities were held greatly responsible for the damage caused by the earthquake given their responsibilities in granting building permits and then monitoring projects.
The party also continued its policy of presenting strong candidates from among the well-known names in the municipalities or the party. Many of the candidates in the major cities were mayors of their sub-municipalities, and there were also prominent names in the party, led by the party’s deputy head, Hamzadagh, who was nominated for the mayor of Izmirkale. Republican People's Opposition.
In the local elections in 2019, the candidate of the Republican People's Party, Mansur Yavaş, won the Greater Ankara Municipality, obtaining 50.9% of the votes, compared to 47.1% for the candidate of the “Justice and Development Party”, former Minister Mehmet Ozhaski. Similar to Istanbul, the most important reason for the Justice and Development Party’s loss of the municipality that Melih Gokcek had run for a quarter of a century was the alliance of the most prominent opposition parties behind the Republican People’s Candidate, as the latter’s standing in Ankara does not qualify him alone for this victory, as he obtained a percentage of 37.8%. From the Municipal Council behind the Justice and Development Party, which won 41%.
The choice of the candidate was also a major factor, as the Justice and Development Party nominated a former minister from outside the city of Ankara with conservative roots, while the opposition nominated Yavaş, who has nationalist origins. He received the votes of the “Republican People” who nominated him in addition to the votes of many nationalists (both parties received The nationalists, the Nationalist Movement and Al-Jadeed, combined to hold 14% of the Ankara Municipal Council, 7% each), and the conservatives, with whom he had no declared problems. The protest vote against the Justice and Development Party in general was among the most important reasons.
In comparison, Ankara's municipal battle will be comparatively more fierce than Istanbul's and AKP's restoration of it is more difficult, mostly for reasons related to the current mayor Yavaş himself. Unlike Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, Yavaş focused on his work in the municipality and largely kept himself out of political debates and party wrangling, with the exception of the recent presidential election campaign. Therefore, during his years as mayor, there were not many confrontations between him and the Justice and Development Party, and he had some meetings with Erdogan and some ministers, unlike Imamoglu.
The man also enjoyed a good reputation in general during his leadership of the municipality, and was not stigmatized for any major failure or notable shortcoming or caused significant controversy. Rather, he is usually evaluated as a successful mayor, which promoted the renewal of his candidacy by the “Republican People.”
Most importantly, the man’s nationalist background enhances his chances of obtaining a percentage of the nationalist votes in the city, despite the “Al-Jayyid” Party announcing its intention to present an independent candidate and the “National Movement” supporting the “Justice and Development” candidate.
Chances of winning
In the last legislative elections just months ago, the Justice and Development Party in Ankara received 40.4% of the votes, and its ally the Nationalist Movement received 13.1%, compared to 26.1% for the Republican People’s Party, 12.1% for the Good Party, and 6.4%. “For the Democratic Peoples.” Therefore, the most important thing that the Justice and Development Party is relying on to restore the capital’s municipality is the breakup of the alliance between the “Republican People” and “Al-Jayyid,” and the latter’s intention to present its own candidate, in addition to the expectation that “Kurdish voices” will not be enthusiastic about voting for Yavash because of his nationalist roots.
On the other hand, the “Justice and Development Party” is betting on its candidate obtaining the support of supporters of the “National Movement,” the votes of some of the parties allied with him, such as the “Grand Union” (nationalist), and perhaps the votes of conservative parties with weak attendance, especially after their recent disputes with the “Republican People.” “.
Here, the ruling party's choice for its candidate for the Greater Ankara Municipality was the head of the Kacioran sub-municipality, Turgut Altinok, a son of Ankara by birth, upbringing, and work. The man is known for his nationalist roots and joined conservative parties. In his beginnings, he was assistant secretary to the head of the National Movement Party. He won the Kaji Oran municipality in 1994 on his behalf, then he won the same municipality in 1999 for the (Islamic) Virtue Party, then he won it for the “Virtue” Party. Justice and Development” in 2004, where he was one of its founders. Although the man resigned from the “Justice and Development Party” and ran for mayor of Greater Ankara (and lost) for the “Grand Union” Party (a conservative nationalist) in 2014, and his daughter was among the founders of the “Good” Party, he later returned to the “Justice and Development Party” and won the presidency of Kaci Oran. Updated in 2019.
Accordingly, the man is known to most of the nationalist and conservative parties in the city, and he literally moved between them, and he always had an ambition to head the major municipality. Given the clear nationalist presence in the capital, the expectation that the “Kurdish” vote will be relatively neutral, the newly established conservative parties’ lack of support for Yavash, and the “Gayyid” Party presenting its own candidate, the Justice and Development Party believes that its chances of regaining the municipality are great.
There is no doubt that the chances of the ruling party in the Ankara municipality in the upcoming elections are better than the previous ones, but that does not mean that it will be easy. Vivash left his mark in the leadership of the capital’s municipality for five years, and the nationalist votes cannot be fully guaranteed even in light of the “Good” party’s decision not to support him, in addition to the fact that the system of alliances and support can change until polling day, and this is a characteristic of Turkish politics. .
Also, the vote of voters in localities differs from that in presidential and legislative elections, and therefore a type of protest vote may occur, for example, in addition to the continuing relative decline of the “Justice and Development Party” in recent years, and the lack of clarity in the directions of the new parties and their influence, especially with the positions for which the party has been criticized. The Governor regarding the aggression against Gaza.
In conclusion, the chances of the Justice and Development Party in the Greater Ankara municipal elections will be significantly greater than in the previous elections, and it will have a great chance of regaining it. In fact, in our opinion, its advantage is relatively outweighed by its opponent. But the current president is a strong competitor and his defeat will not be easy, as well as the possibility of any potential developments affecting the results. Therefore, it is still relatively early to expect an accurate final result, as 24 hours is a long time in Turkish politics, as they say.