Erdogan's "Measures" Did Not Yield Desired Results: Local Elections in Turkey
On March 31, 2019, at 17:00 local time, local elections in Turkey were officially over. Just as in 2014, this time also the elections took place in an uneasy atmosphere, accompanied by political arrests and clashes.
Political persecutions had begun way before elections. From early 2019 to the election day, 713 party members were arrested, 107 out of them are detained as of now. It is noteworthy that mass arrests in Turkey had begun 24 hours before the elections. Particularly, during searches of 127 homes in Istanbul, pro-Kurdish Democrats were detained, 53 in Şanlıurfa, 11 in Adana, 31 in Van and Iğdır. According to the Turkish authorities, they were accused of supporting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and serving their terrorist goals.
Obviously Erdogan tried to impact voters' opinion on the eve of elections through the above mentioned acts. First, he isolated the representatives of the unwanted political opponents, then demonstrated to the Turkish people that he is the guarantor of their security and peaceful coexistence.
The local elections proceeded in a tensed atmosphere, with incidents, firing bullets at the polling stations. Total 310 incidents were recorded leaving 4 casualties and more than 70 injured.
Initially The AKP had serious concerns about the possible outcome of the local elections. Thus all "measures" taken before and on the election day, were aimed to control the election results with Erdogan having stated of the significance of these elections as "a matter of life and death" for him. The outcome evidenced that the “prevention” measures did not help Erdogan. Although his candidates won 56 per cent of the votes, however the president lost capital Ankara and Istanbul. In Kars and Iğdır, cities bordering Armenia, the HDP candidates took the mayors’ seats.
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