What next?

What do the big changes in Turkey’s political landscape mean for Turkish politics?


In terms of both alliances and individual political parties, surprising results have emerged from the March 31 local elections, in which the People’s Alliance based its campaign on ‘survival’ and the National Alliance on the ‘ economy. The metropolit­an cities have changed hands and in some provinces breathtaki­ng races took place, even between the partners of the People’s Alliance - the AK Party and MHP. Ankara, Antalya and (although not yet certain) Istanbul passed from the AK Party to the CHP and Adana and Mersin from MHP to CHP. Not only metropolit­an cities but also the provinces changed hands. Agri, Bitlis, Sirnak was taken by the AK Party from the HDP. Amasya, Bayburt, Cankiri, Erzincan, Karaman, Kastamonu, Kutahya went from AK Party to MHP. Ardahan, Artvin, Bilecik, Bolu, Kirsehir from AK Party to CHP, Giresun, Zonguldak from CHP to AK Party. MHP lost Isparta to the AK Party.

All eyes will continue to be on Istanbul, as the gap between the two main contenders, the opposition’s Ekrem Imamoglu and the government’s candidate Binali Yildirim is less than 25,000 votes. It’s believed that the appeal process requires at least a few weeks before the YSK is ready to announce the final results. But there are plenty of urgent issues on Turkey’s agenda. Following the conclusion of the elections, the expectatio­ns for the new period in terms of politics and actions are as follows:

- The main agenda of Turkey will be the economy. A new framework will be announced next week. Then individual steps will be taken for each structural measure.

- There may be changes in the cabinet according to the election results. Considerin­g the distributi­on of seats in the parliament, some deputies maybe carried to the cabinet.

- Problems have occurred in some institutio­ns due to the merging of some ministries and changes in their

senior bureaucrat­s in the new system, applied after the June 24 presidenti­al elections. The system is not functionin­g efficientl­y because some ministries have increased their workload and some ministries focus only on one area. So, the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry can be divided into two, Trade and Customs can be separated. In this context, the number of ministries may increase.

- There is no limit to the number of vice presidents in the Constituti­on so the number of vice presidents, which is still one person, can be increased.

New era in politics

The results of local elections are considered a threshold in politics at the corridors of the parliament. Growing stronger from the local elections, both the People’s and the National Alliance will continue, according to the statements of the leaders. The Presidenti­al debate that emerges after each election within the CHP is not expected to come to the agenda for the time being. The expectatio­n is that CHP leader Kemal Kilicdarog­lu will continue his role for a while unless he himself takes a decision to step down.

GOOD Party Chairman Meral Akşener’s chair, on the other hand, still seems to be on shaky ground. The GOOD Party, which is considered as “the party that can’t win an election but helps others,” is said to be having problems connecting with voters at the local level. Because the Party is not well-positioned ideologica­lly, there is talk that it may eventually dissolve.

Ekrem Imamoğlu, a new name brought to politics by the March 31 local elections, is considered to be the leader of the CHP in the future. Finally, the eyes are turned on the offended AK Party voters who are waiting for the election results. In the coming days, we will see whether Abdullah Gul, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Ali Babacan will take a step for a new formation or not.

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