Not all politics are local in Turkey

Dünya Executive - - POLITICS - HURRIYET JANUARY 30 SERKAN DEMIRTAS

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.

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