Elections in Turkey: The beginning of the end for Tayyip Erdogan

In black colors the German press presents its future after the electoral debacle it suffered yesterday (31/03/2024) in Turkey with the opposition winning in the major centres, such as Istanbul and Ankara. “For the first time in more than 20 years the CHP (opposition) has become the strongest political force throughout Turkey,” writes Tagesspiegel, adding that “experts evaluate these elections as a crossroads for Turkey”, while others, such as political scientist Murat Zomer, consider that these election results “may be the beginning of the Erdoğan era”. “To his most important goal, in the reoccupation of Istanbul, the Turkish metropolis of 16 million inhabitants, […] Erdogan clearly failed,” comments the German Journalist Network (RND). And although Erem Imamoglu of the opposition CHP seems to win the election by 9% apart from Murat Kurum, Erdogan’s AKP candidate, “the opposition election victory was even more clear in Ankara’s capital, where the difference reached 20%”. Indeed, in addition to the areas where the CHP usually prevails, as in Antalya and Smyrna, the opposition has also caused another surprise “by insisting on Prussa, an industrial city in western Turkey which until now ruled by AKP politician”. As the RND observes, “the AKP was overall ahead of the CHP. It was preceded by 46 out of 81 provinces, […] but ultimately suffered losses compared to the 2019 municipal elections.” “How Erdogan will interpret the results of the elections remains to be seen – as will whether to speed up or postpone his plans for a constitutional reform. At present there has been no position from the presidential palace. What is clear, however, is that the myth of “undefeated Erdogan”, which has won 12 election contests since 2012, is beginning to collapse,” estimates the German network. For her part Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung mentions a “serious blow to President Erdogan’s party”, also pointing out that “a victory of Imamoglu would be a defeat of Erdogan, even though the latter was not on the ballots. AKP’s campaign was cut and sewn into Erdogan’s measures, which mobilised the state apparatus, in order for his party to regain the country’s symbolic metropolises. AKP’s own candidate in Istanbul, Murat Kurum, was in Erdogan’s shadow.” The Frankfurt paper also stands on charges of fraud in elections: “The Kurdish DEM party accused the government of bringing tens of thousands of soldiers and police from other places, to vote mainly in Kurdish areas in the south-east of the country. The presidential office denied the charges – security forces are claimed to be registered in the respective constituencies and traveled simply by buses to the polling stations for security reasons.” Source: