04/02/2019, 09.39
TURKEY
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Erdogan looses big cities

by NAT da Polis

It is the first time in 25 years of absolute domination. All the major cities on the coast - Tekirdag, Yalova Aidin, Hatay, Sinope Antalya, Mersin - were won by the Kemalist Republican CHP party, along with the capital Ankara and Istanbul. Smyrna has always been a stronghold of the CHP. The economic crisis has weighed: a 35% devalued Turkish lira; 20% inflation; reduced foreign exchange reserves. But at present there are no significant and alternative figures to the "sultan".

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - For the first time after 25 years of absolute domination of the Turkish political scene, the AKP party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a collapse in the big cities in the local elections on March 31.

All the major cities on the coast - Tekirdag, Yalova Aidin, Hatay, Sinope Antalya, Mersin - were won by the Kemalist Republican party CHP, along with the capital Ankara and Istanbul. Smyrna has always been a CHP

stronghold.

Turkey seems to have turned its back on the AKP, of Islamic extraction. In Ankara, after 15 years of AKP rule, Mansur Yavas, of the CHP, won. But the most bitter defeat is that it has lost its stronghold, Istanbul by a few thousand votes. In fact, the CHP candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, won just 27,000 more votes.

AKP candidate was Binali Yildirim, former prime minister and Erdagan loyalist, who apparently will ask for a recount. It should be remembered that Istanbul was born in 1994 the star of the then unknown Erdogan, elected mayor of Istanbul that year.

As he had always done in the other elections, Erdogan had also turned the administrative two days ago into a referendum on himself, and had committed himself to more than 100 public rallies.

The reason for his commitment was to want to renew his figure as that of a caudillo for the next four year term of his presidency, hit last year by a deep economic crisis that saw the collapse of the devalued Turkish lira by 35%,  inflation galloping around 20%, foreign exchange reserves fall to 90 billion dollars, while the annual requirement in currency is 220 billion.

In other words, the economic growth that in past years has been the winning horse of the Erdogan governments, now turns against him for various reasons, first of all his blind arrogance convinced he is father-master of the new Turkey with neo-Ottoman aims.

Erdogan admitted that he had lost some large municipalities and "these - he said - are the games of democracy", but added that "we have conquered the heart of the nation where we won, but we did not succeed where we lost". And he has promised economic reforms.

It should be remembered that the Kurdish HDP party raised 4.2% on a national basis thanks to good performances in Diyarbakir and in the south-east of the country. It should also be noted that in some areas of the same area, such as Sinark, with its strong Kurdish presence, the AKP won thanks to investments and construction of important public works.

In the diplomatic world of Istanbul it is noted that although the loss of Istanbul was a great defeat for Erdogan, it must not go unnoticed that he won on a national scale with 42.87% in 2014 to the current 44.42%, and that together with its ally Bahceli of the Mhp (ultra-nationalist party), it reaches 51.6%, while the CHP passes from 26.34% in 2014 to 30.07% at present.

Moreover, it must be admitted that for the moment, there is no political figure that could call President Recep Tayyip Erdogan into question on the horizon.

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