Not all politics are local in Turkey
March 31 will be more of a repetition of the general elections than local elections. It’s a first that political parties have set up alliances and are choosing mutual candidates to run for local positions. Both alliances have decided to represent joint candidates in many provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, and other metropolises. This fact has important impacts and changes on the nature of local elections, and therefore local politics. In many constituencies where alliances run against each other, candidates have been picked directly by the leaders out of potential contenders who would also be sympathetic to the voters of the allied party. This led to putting the needs and expectations, as well as political figures, of local communities on the back burner. Many constituencies will, therefore, have to vote for candidates represented by Ankara and who don’t have much to do with their local communities. Turkish politics is in a rapid process of centralization as a result of continued societal polarization. This is not a good trend for an already troubled state of democracy in Turkey.