Turkish Local Elections 2014


In comparison with  the 2011 general elections, the votes of  the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has decreased by  6,6%. Though the political observers predicted a dramatic downfall, because of the widespread corruption implicating the prime minister, his family and several ministers, the  drop was limited to 2-3 millions of votes, what represents an acceptable loss in a catastrophic situation largely displayed in mass media,


Two totally divergent modalities of calculation may well be taken in consideration for quantifying numbers and percentages. This study adopts the method which notices merely the votes addressed to the party, disregarding those given to the candidates, in order to assure the comparability between the local elections of the 30th of March 2014 and the legislative one of 2011.


Having obtained 25,6% of the polls, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposition in the parliament, could not improve its score compared with 2011 (25,9%). The votes detaching (2-3 million) from AKP turned towards the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has gained some important municipalities. Actually, MHP may be declared as the winner of the polls on the 30th of March, 2014.  Finally, the Party of Peace and Democracy (BDP) has been able to consolidate its position on AKP in the in the southeastern part of Anatolia.


The mayors of three biggest cities (Istanbul/AKP, Ankara/AKP, Izmir/CHP) have been reelected. In view of the results, one may note that Turkey displays, as nearly before the elections,  the aspect of a country  geographically divided into three regions representing divergent electoral characteristics. The conservative one, voting mainly AKP and expanding on the quasi-totality of the country; the second which is modern and secularist, polling essentially for CHP and streching on coastal regions, especially Aegean littoral and Thrace; and, a third representing the Southeastern region which is overwhelmingly inhabited by the citizens of kurdish origin casting for BDP. MHP is nowhere prevalent but present everywhere, except in kurdish regions.


Turkey’s sociopolitical partition has led to a sort of lack of empathy and to a complete incomprehension between conservatives and secularists. Besides, Mr. Erdoğan is inducing hate between his supporters and the secularists in order to tighten and to reinforce the block of his adherents. As a result,  the Turkish electorate has started to evolve in a polarized political world in which one is unconditionally for or against Mr. Erdoğan. This fact has decidedly caused the transmutation of the past local elections in a kind of referendum around the prime minister, or eventually AKP.  Thus the observers tend to consider well-founded the study of these local elections through comparison to those legislative of 2011.


The voters certainly do not agree with the corruption and the nepotism prevailing within the governing party. But the economic stability and the obvious inexistence of a credible alternative have entailed a new electoral success for AKP. Nevertheless, this positive result does not alter the criminal nature of malpractices and the repulsiveness of the authoritarian regime and, indeed antidemocratic behaviour of the prime minister.


The governing party made use, during the campaign, of absolutely unequal means, spending funds allocated to State or to public use of municipalities. Civil servants were virtually obliged to cooperate with the “power”. Prosecutors have been penalized for having summoned some privileged people presumably involved in corruption affairs. The prime minister himself or the spokesmen of the governing party have abused their power on the media, holding the screen in a disproportionate manner in comparison to the opposition. Outstanding journalists and eminent columnists have been openly offended and threatened by Mr. Erdoğan himself, because of their “unsuitable” political position. It would be understated to affirm that the method of campaign adopted by the prime minister and AKP has given rise to ethical concerns. The governing party has, in fact, ignored all notions regarding constitutional State, separation of power, republican institutional frame, freedom of expression and, all that not to mention innumerable cases of fraud during the electoral process.


Since Gezi events in June 2013, Mr. Erdoğan behaves as a chieftain rather than a statesman who has to keep the same distance to all his compatriots. His tendency to yield has visibly got stronger after the divulgation of his personal corruption affairs in December 2013. He is trying to dissolve and depreciate the widespread corruption by reducing all that process to the calumny of the opposition and to the conspiration of the Gulenist movement, with which Erdoğan collaborated during years for neutralizing his political enemies.


Erdoğan’s merciless fight for power has obviously no resemblence with the political combat of an ordinary politician. Inevitably, he could be prosecuted and brought before court as soon as he would be deprived of the immunity provided by his position. Consequently, it would not be surprising to observe Mr. Erdoğan hardening his attitude. He seems to consider that the appropriate method to conquer the presidency of the republic consists of consolidating his regiments (43%) against  a scattered majority. We may also expect, during next couple of months, fervent efforts from the prime minister for bringing extremeness to our political center.   

About Aydιn Cıngı

Political scientist, founder and former chairman of Social Democracy Foundation