Erdogan gifted CHP an election victory!

20 mins read
Erdogan gifted CHP an election victory!

In the local elections held on Sunday, March 31, 2024, mayors, metropolitan mayors, municipal council members, provincial council members, mukhtars and council of elders were elected to determine local governments in Turkey.

According to the unofficial results of the March 31, 2024 local elections, the main opposition party CHP is ahead across Turkey. AK Party suffers the biggest defeat in its political history

The AK Party suffered its first electoral defeat in the June 7, 2015 elections. For the first time since it came to power in 2002, the AK Party lost its majority in parliament, but emerged as the first party with 40.9 percent of the vote and 258 seats.

From June 7 to the November 1, 2015 elections, Turkey was the scene of suicide attacks, and even the then prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu made the gaffe of saying that his “votes increased” two days after the October 10 Ankara Garı attack.

In the run-up to the November 1, 2015 elections, the security issue was at the forefront in Turkey. At the end of seven months of attacks and suicide bombings, the AK Party increased its vote by 9 percent and regained sole power by sending 317 MPs to parliament. HDP’s votes, on the other hand, dropped significantly. After receiving 13.12 percent of the vote in the June 7 elections, the HDP received 10.7 percent on November 1.

The AK Party suffered its second electoral defeat in the local elections on March 31, 2019. The AK Party lost important metropolitan municipalities. While the Republican People’s Party’s candidate was Ekrem İmamoglu, the HDP did not field a candidate and supported the CHP in the local elections.

The AK Party, which maintained its alliance with the MHP in 51 provinces in the local elections, lost important metropolitan cities and municipalities, including Ankara, Istanbul, Adana and Mersin, to the CHP.

After the AK Party and MHP objected to the March 31st elections in Istanbul, only the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality elections were renewed on June 23rd. On June 23rd, Ekrem İmamoglu won the re-run election by a landslide.

On Sunday, March 31, 2024, the AK Party suffered the most colossal defeat in its political history in the local elections. In my personal opinion, President Erdogan led the political organization he leads to a controlled chaotic defeat.

AK Party’s threatening language and consciously wrong election strategy!…

While addressing voters in Hatay during his party’s meeting in Hatay, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was criticized for saying, “If the central government and local government do not join hands, if they are not in solidarity, nothing will come to that city. Did it come to Hatay?” He was criticized for using these statements.

Therefore, some will attribute the loss of the March 31, 2024 elections to such statements by AK Party officials. However, I think this kind of discourse is a fiction that has been worked on. There were similar discourses in the past. But this time is different.

Ankara, Istanbul candidates…

Let me state from the outset that the fact that the names nominated from the AK Party list in many provinces did not receive the necessary attention from the party’s base was an important factor in the loss of the elections.

For example, when Turgut Altınok’s name was announced in Ankara, the CHP mayor Mansur Yavaş was the one who was most happy and the AK Party candidate was an easy target for him.

As a matter of fact, this was demonstrated when Turgut Altınok lost Keçiören, the conservative voting depot where he served as mayor before the elections, to the CHP. On Saturday night, the day before the election, on my way back from an observation and research trip to Çankırı’s Orta and Şabanözu districts, my old friend Musa Özturk invited Engin Yagcı from Taşmedreseli and Tatar leader Unver Sel to an iftar in Keçiören Aktepe.

As we passed through the center of Keçiören, we noticed the exaggerated density of AK Party flags, especially at the entrance. But despite this, Turgut Altınok was defeated in his own castle. So the people of Keçiören were not satisfied with him. Do you think it is possible for Erdogan, who conducts public opinion surveys on candidates before every election, to miss such a discontent?

Similar reasons apply to Murat Kurum, the candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. If AK Party provincial chairman Osman Nuri Kabaktepe had been nominated instead, he might have been more successful. After all, there was a possibility that the Black Sea voters would wink at him.

In fact, Metin Kulunk also wanted it very much, but he could not fulfill his wish as much as Kurum in his presidential candidacy. Again, even Mehmet Tevfik Göksu, the mayor of Esenler, could have pushed Imamoglu. I don’t know if his statement “If Esenler loses, Mecca Medina will fall, Jerusalem will fall” would have worked in this election. However, being re-elected in his own district with over 50 percent of the votes may be a criterion.

Retired voters are nervous about making ends meet!…

The explosion of the CHP’s vote share across the country is the reason for the change of preference of the considerable mass of voters who voted for the AK Party in the May 14, 2023 general election. There are certain reasons why voters distanced themselves from the ruling party in the local elections.

Almost until the last day of the election, the fuel price assessment, i.e. the hike, was effective. Especially the middle-aged voters, who consider Ramadan as a month of mercy, were forced to vote for CHP due to the cost of living, inflation and the cost of living.

AK Party Chairman and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confidently said that there will be no increase in pensions, which angered the pensioners. Erdogan, who asked the citizens to “keep their support and prayers from us”, said that they increased the lowest pension from 6 thousand liras to 10 thousand liras, and that the public banks determined the promotion for retirees between 8-12 thousand liras according to the monthly salary, and that he believed that other banks would not stay below these figures, but this was not enough to convince the retired voters.

However, an increase in pensions would have required a sign from Erdogan. Erdogan deliberately did not do this.

Why didn’t he do it?

Because giving pensioners a raise requires printing money for nothing.

Such a step would have disrupted the anti-inflation plan prepared by the economic bureaucracy. In the cost-benefit calculation, pensioners were not given a raise at the expense of losing the local elections.

Angry and resentful retired voters refrained from voting for the AK Party in the local elections, trusting that the state would not face a survival problem. Do not underestimate the possibility that Erdogan’s reflex to get rid of the debt burden of AK Party municipalities is behind this voter behavior.

How DEM won the election for CHP?

In Afyonkarahisar, CHP candidate Burcu Köksal, who came to the agenda with the statement “If I am elected, I will not run the municipality with DEM and HUDAPAR”, led the election by a margin of nearly 20 points and CHP won the mayorship in Afyon after almost half a century.

In provinces such as Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bolu and Balıkesir, where people like Burcu Köksal said “I won’t let DEM in the door”, CHP won a record number of votes. The MHP leader’s statements about the main opposition “brewing with DEM” apparently did not seem to have much effect on nationalist conservative voters.

Karar columnist Taşgetiren, a member of the Erenköy/Tobbaş congregation who was once the editor of Altınoluk magazine, said that President Erdogan used “threatening language” against the public during the election process, indicating that the congregation he belongs to has parted ways with the AK Party.

Yeniden Refah, the surprise of the March 31, 2024 election!…

YRP leader Fatih Erbakan was the party leader who criticized the government’s economic policy the most during the election campaign. Another discourse of Erbakan that led the conservative sector to vote against the AK Party government was his accusation that the government was increasing its trade volume with the Zionist Israeli regime despite the tragedy and massacre in Gaza.

It can also be said that Fatih Erbakan’s stance against vaccination during the pandemic has left a positive image on the public. The fact that the YRP increased its votes across Turkey can be considered a surprise of these elections. Indeed, it won mayorships in Şanlıurfa and Yozgat.

The resignation of Kasım Gulpınar, a prominent Kurdish and conservative voter in Şanlıurfa, known as the “grandson of a shikh”, from the ruling Justice and Development Party and his candidacy from the former partner of the People’s Alliance, the Yeniden Refah Party, has upset the previous balance in the election race in this city.

Change won in CHP!…

To tell the truth, I did not expect pharmacist Özgur Özel, who took the chairmanship after ‘Piro’ Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu by saying “change”, to show this success in the local elections. The “Tarzan of Manisa” almost blew his party away.

I have heard some Alevi opinion leaders I know calling on Alevi voters not to vote for the CHP. However, when the election results are analyzed, it is understood that Alevi voters were not affected by this discourse.

It seems as if the voters have bought Kemal Kılıçdaroglu’s claim that the CHP has been removed from power because of his Alevi identity. After this hour, it seems impossible for Kemal Kılıçdaroglu to lead the CHP to a congress.

The CHP, which won only three of Ankara’s 25 districts in 2019, is leading the race in 16 districts according to the results so far. The districts where the CHP is ahead are Beypazarı, Nallıhan, Ayaş, Polatlı, Haymana, Keçiören, Çankaya, Gölbaşı, Mamak, Elmadag, Etimesgut, Şereflikoçhisar, Kahramankazan, Kalecik and Gudul.

Mansur Yavaş made history in Ankara, so to speak. Mansur Yavaş’s dialog with Ankara’s conservative circles, and especially his elbow-to-elbow contact with the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) base, helped him win a record number of votes against Turgut Altınok.

Who did the “sect votes” go to?…

The biggest supporter of the conservative Democrat AK Party is undoubtedly the sect community. Turkey’s main Naqshbandi branches have never withheld their votes from the AK Party until now. However, in these elections, especially in Istanbul, the Black Sea sheikhs, who emphasized the shalwar, turban, robe, beard for men and the chador for women, apparently did not vote for Erdoğan despite the fact that he came to visit them with the Murad of Istanbul. This is not me saying this, but Cubbeli Ahmet from Giresun, who was expelled and excommunicated from İsmailaga.

Cubbeli Ahmet says: “I can consider this election as a manifestation of Fetö’s penetration into the tariqats. As a matter of fact, the biggest sign of the correctness of this view is the tweet of Fetö fugitive Emre Uslu: “The first losers of the election are Menzil sect and Cubbeli”. As can be seen, he did not say İsmailaga here, but Cubbeli. This is because Ismailaga did not fulfill its duty to stand on the side of the truth in this election. The reason for this will be explained more clearly in the coming days.”

This means that the İsmailaga community did not vote for the AK Party. Most of the votes were probably given to the YRP and some to Ekrem İmamoglu, who is from Trabzon like their sheikh, who was followed by the blue takkelis, who met with the British ambassador at a fish restaurant during the snow disaster.

The fact that Osman Nuri Topbaş, the Sheikh of the Erenköy Congregation, targeted the government during his lecture on “boycotting Israeli goods” probably led his followers not to vote for the AK Party.

“Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Abd al-Salâm (d. 660 AH / 1262 A.H.), a Shafi’i jurist, issued a fatwa stating that the sale of weapons and weapons-making materials to the crusaders who had declared war on the Islamic world was haram and that those who did so would be wrongdoers. Upon hearing this fatwa, one of the tailors came to Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Abd al-Salâm;

“-The crusaders are coming to make me sew clothes. If I sew clothes for the crusaders, will I be a partner in this cruelty?” he asked.

Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Abd al-Salâm gave the following marvelous answer, which sheds light on our day:

“-No, you are not a partner in their oppression. The one who sells you a needle and thread is a partner in oppression, and you are the oppressor.”

The reason for Fatih Erbakan’s cockiness towards President Erdogan should be better understood now.

Short and to the point:

The Turkish Armed Forces will carry out major military operations in Iraq and Syria in the coming days. Erdogan has already announced this in his balcony speech.

This is why national unity is needed now more than ever. The AK Party leadership did not risk this military operation by leaving the local elections to the opposition and accepting the election results without protest.

The government abandoned its policy of bribing voters to fight inflation at the cost of losing at the ballot box. The elections were also seen as an opportunity to get rid of the debt burden of AK Party municipalities.

Especially in Ankara, the landslide victory of the CHP’s Mansur Yavaş is a move by Erdogan against İmamoglu. With the percentage of votes he received in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, Mansur Yavaş is the biggest partner and rival of Ekrem İmamoglu in the CHP presidential or presidential race.

Yes, we can talk about a relative electoral success of CHP and YRP. But as I said, this is a strategy of Erdogan. Now the government can implement its austerity policy more easily. Moreover, the lost election has given Erdogan the opportunity and justification to revamp the Council of Ministers and party organizations.

Erdogan gifted CHP an election victory! 1

It is noteworthy that the AK Party Chairman and President Erdogan did not take anyone other than his wife, Mrs. Emine, with him during his balcony speech, indicating that he was responsible for the electoral defeat.

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Ömür Ömür Çelikdönmez

Ömür Çelikdönmez: Journalist-Writer. He held various positions in the Turkish Prime Ministry. He writes articles on geopolitics and geostrategy.