The new page Ekrem Imamoglu turned

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Osman ULAGAY Columnist

Istanbul’s elected mayor Ekrem Imamoglu’s promise to turn a new page for the future of Istanbul and the country, and his discourse that embraces every segment, made him the hope of the electorate who complained about the insensitiv­ity of the ruling party that led the country to the economic crisis. These latest developmen­ts in Turkey were widely covered in the leading publicatio­ns of the Western media. It was emphasized in the foreign media that President Erdogan has times ahead, while the amazing rise of Ekrem Imamoglu, the clear winner of the election, became the center of attention.

Is Imamoglu the long-awaited leader?

As an unknown name before the local elections, the fact that Imamoglu showed he can run against Erdogan with his outstandin­g performanc­e, was the main cause of becoming the focus of attention in the Western media.

However, this interest had another important dimension. Imamoglu has also attracted attention with his attitude that rejected the commanding leader model which was put forward by nationalis­t-populist ‘one man’ regimes that had marked world politics in recent years and caused widespread concern in the democratic segments of the West. The attention of the electorate for Imamoglu, who emerged with an approach that embraced everyone, has given hope to everyone who supports pluralist democracy. Imamoglu, who has drawn a peaceful, egalitaria­n and principled profile against the populist-nationalis­t authoritar­ian leadership model that has marked politics in many countries from America to England, Italy to Hungary, India to Brazil, has therefore become the center of attention. The fact that a politician who set against bossism in an important country like Turkey is on the rise by taking full support of the voters drawing interest in the West is not surprising in a world in which liberal democracy is under heavy attack by politician­s like Trump.

Why is the support of the West important?

Having ruled the country since 2002, the most successful era of the AK Party was the 2003-2007 period in which Turkey was in a warm relationsh­ip with the West, especially the European Union. We need to remember that national income per capita, which is currently under $10,000, exceeded this amount fort the first time in 2008 and FDI capital that entered the country in that period exceeded $20 billion and the Turkish lira was stabilized also in that period.

Everybody knows how we came to these days. Unfortunat­ely Turkey currently is a country which has very high external loan risk, can’t attract investment capital and is under recession threat. On the other hand, we live in a world where the share of non-Western countries in the global economy exceeds that of the West, but global capital is still largely under the control of the West and internatio­nal financial institutio­ns.

Everyone knows that Istanbul is one of the cities that attracts the attention and admiration of the world. The political profile of Ekrem Imamoğlu, who will now be in charge of the management of this magnificen­t city, may make it easier for him to find significan­t external financing and project support for the big projects he will put forward. Turkey’s relationsh­ip with the West and the financing world must be at an acceptable level in order for this to happen. If we can be a bit optimistic, we can think that the page Imamoglu turned in Istanbul may also affect Turkey’s future in an important way.

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