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In Turkey, Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu decisively won the rerun of the mayoral election in Istanbul last weekend. The new elections were called after pressure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the original vote in March by a narrow margin.

The AKP machine put its weight behind winning these local elections. Istanbul is not only Turkey’s economic powerhouse — and a major source of patronage for the ruling party — but also where Erdogan launched his political career, as mayor, in 1994. Despite growing authoritarianism in the country, the opposition still believed in participation in the elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

La oposición en Turquía ha logrado una victoria muy significativa este domingo. El candidato del Partido Republicano del Pueblo (CHP) ha sido apoyado también por otras fuerzas políticas, incluyendo la decisiva contribución de los kurdos. Ekrem Imamoglu ha destruido el muro del miedo en el país. Es importante recordar que las elecciones para la alcaldía de Estambul se repitieron por la petición del Partido de la Justicia y el Desarrollo (AKP), del presidente Erdogan. Esta repetición ha sido el error estratégico más significativo del presidente en su carrera política. AKP perdió la alcaldía en marzo con una diferencia de unos 13.000 votos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando el Alto Consejo Electoral de Turquía, dominado por personas nombradas por el presidente Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, anuló la importantísima elección municipal de Estambul el 6 de mayo, el mundo tenía razón al preocuparse. Pero ahora que se llevó a cabo otra votación, es él quien debería estar preocupado.

Las elecciones locales de este año –originariamente realizadas el 31 de marzo- en general han sido consideradas como un referendo sobre el régimen autoritario de Erdoğan. Con la repetición de los comicios en Estambul, ya se conocen los resultados totales. La coalición opositora, liderada por el Partido Republicano del Pueblo (CHP), ganó en las tres zonas metropolitanas más importantes de Turquía: Ankara, Izmir y Estambul.…  Seguir leyendo »

The weekend’s election results were a stunning rebuke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The clear victor in the new Istanbul municipal election was the Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, overturning 25 years of governance by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) or its precursors.

It is a turning point for the city of 15 million and, indeed, for all of Turkey. The full repercussions of Sunday’s election may take years to fully understand, but some lessons are already clear.

Pessimists (like me) overstated our case

As elections became increasingly unfair and unfree, many scholars increasingly saw Turkey as a hybrid state, combining elections with authoritarian tools to limit effective opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ekrem Imamoglu won the repeat election for mayor of Istanbul by pulling together strands of the opposition.CreditCreditOnur Gunay/Imamoglu Media team, via Associated Press

Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition candidate in the Istanbul mayoral election, on Sunday defeated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s choice and the Justice and Development Party by winning 54 percent of the votes, 806,000 more than his opponent. It was the biggest defeat of the governing party in close to two decades.

Mr. Imamoglu won Istanbul by reorienting Turkey toward a politics that might enable democratic coexistence. He achieved his victory by recognizing that dispossession can generate political power, something all populists understand. What sets him apart is that he has managed to do this by alleviating polarization, not deepening it.

Turkey held municipal elections in March amid an economic recession, and Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

No es habitual que unas elecciones locales despierten tanta atención internacional. El 31 de marzo Turquía tenía cita con las urnas para elegir a sus alcaldes pero en juego había mucho más que el liderazgo municipal. La controvertida decisión de la Comisión Electoral de repetir la votación en Estambul lo ha dejado todavía más claro. Lo menos que puede decirse es que estamos ante una situación excepcional. El analista turco Sinan Ulgen lo ha calificado como la prueba del algodón de la democracia turca. Tras un recuento que confirmó la victoria del candidato opositor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, por unos miles de votos y después de tres semanas ejerciendo como alcalde, la decisión de la Comisión Electoral nos ha devuelto a la casilla de salida.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, shout anti-government slogans while protesting against the rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election on Monday.CreditCreditYasin Akgul/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ekrem Imamoglu, the 48-year-old politician who defeated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party in Istanbul’s recent mayoral election, is known for his gentle ways.

But on Monday night, Mr. Imamoglu was furious. A large crowd gathered to hear him in his home district, Beylikduzu. His shirt sleeves rolled up, he jabbed his index finger into the air as he spoke. “There are those who want to take the dignity of our Republic, this country, this city, under their feet!” he shouted. “But we, 82 million people, will not let a handful of people extinguish these values!”

That day, the Supreme Election Council, Turkey’s top electoral body, had canceled the results of the election that Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Turkey’s March 31 local elections, the opposition parties — particularly the center-left Republican People’s Party CHP and the informal alliance it formed with a newly founded right-wing party IYI (Good Party) — won the country’s trendsetting megapolises, including Ankara and Istanbul, even though the results are still unofficial.

The opposition’s electoral advances present President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party AKP with yet another opportunity to set Turkey on a different and better path by sharing, rather than monopolizing, power. If they choose this path by respecting the electorate’s decision, recognizing the new political reality and honoring Turkey’s democratic traditions, this could start a process of depolarizing society and then restoring and reforming democracy and rule of law.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Turkish opposition had a historic night March 31, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party surprisingly failed to win the mayoral races in Ankara, the capital, and Istanbul, the financial capital. Exactly 25 years ago, Erdogan became Istanbul’s mayor — and the parties he supported hadn’t lost either city since.

But will Erdogan accept the results? It’s unclear. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still pushing for a ballot recount — even asking for new elections in three months in various districts. However, the election night performance of the opposition candidates in these two major cities was enough to create a huge hope among opposition supporters for the future of Turkish democracy, which collapsed two years ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since March 31, the defeat in Turkey of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic conservative Justice and Development Party, the A.K.P., and its ultranationalist electoral partner Nationalist Movement Party, the M.H.P., in municipal elections in Ankara, Istanbul and several others cities has led to premature commentary that Turkey is on the verge of change.

By wresting control of mayoral positions in Ankara and Istanbul, which were held by Mr. Erdogan’s party for 25 years, the opposition coalition has shown that Mr. Erdogan is not invincible.

But it is no victory for liberal values. The opposition coalition of the Republican People’s Party, the C.H.P.,…  Seguir leyendo »

We had to wait awhile to be sure, but now it is clear: The ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a defeat in Turkey’s key cities in the local elections that took place this past weekend.

There was a time when Erdogan — whether you liked him or not — represented change. He stood for a forward-looking vision for the country, suggesting that he could navigate the most pressing challenges, from the Kurdish issue to corruption to economic mismanagement, and he did. The people loved him for this reason and supported him at the ballot box.

No longer. Erdogan has lost his magic touch.…  Seguir leyendo »

I am a 30-year-old Turkish man, and for my entire adult life there has been a ritual to elections: There’s a bitterly fought campaign, the polling day arrives, people vote, ballots are counted and Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins.

He stands on the balcony of his Justice and Development Party’s headquarters in Ankara and gives a victory speech to a cheering crowd. If you are part of that crowd, you feel as if you have become a little more important in the world. If you aren’t, you feel as if you have become a little less relevant. This sequence of events has repeated itself for 17 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

A poster of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that reads, “Thank you Istanbul,” at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday.CreditSedat Suna/Epa-Efe, via, Rex -- Shutterstock

More than 55 million Turks went to the polls on Sunday to elect the country’s new president and to form its new parliament. As has happened repeatedly since 2002, the winner was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With more than 52 percent of the vote, Mr. Erdogan secured a mandate to rule Turkey until 2023 — the centennial of the founding of the Turkish Republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

To many, especially in the West, yet another victory for Mr. Erdogan seems hard to understand. The economy has been gloomy. The Turkish lira is in free fall against other currencies.…  Seguir leyendo »

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan. Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

El presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ya consiguió su objetivo político último de ser el primer presidente del ejecutivo popularmente electo del país, con casi el 53% de los votos nacionales en la elección del domingo. Hace un año, Erdoğan impulsó una reforma constitucional para transformar la democracia parlamentaria turca en un sistema presidencial altamente centralizado. Ahora esa reforma entrará plenamente en vigor.

Los cambios constitucionales dan a Erdoğan nuevos poderes para designar vicepresidentes, ministros y altos funcionarios. También le permiten disolver el parlamento, ser miembro de un partido político, tener más voz en la designación de jueces en los tribunales superiores, emitir decretos con fuerza de ley e imponer el estado de emergencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

The result of Sunday’s presidential elections in Turkey is forcing us to come to terms with a new reality: that liberal dreams of establishing a Muslim democracy can easily be crushed by the creeping power of illiberalism. We now live in what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters call “the New Turkey.” Despite the economic downturn and frustration with Erdogan’s draconian policies that suffocate a large section of the society, including secularists and Kurds, the Turkish president was reelected with 52 percent of the vote.

That is a heartbreaking defeat for those of us who had hoped that the vote on Sunday would send a strong message to Erdogan to return to the path of democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un vieil homme vote à Istanbul aux élections parlementaires et présidentielle du 24 juin 2018 en Turquie. Photo Yasin AKGUL. AFP

La fièvre électorale est montée en Turquie. Le climat est à la méfiance et à l’inquiétude vis-à-vis de fraudes que l’on considère probables, d’autant plus que l’on sent Erdogan moins assuré de l’emporter dès le premier tour. La société civile se mobilise avec rigueur et sang froid au sein d’organisations qui se créent pour l’occasion, pour surveiller le déroulement du vote. La plus ancienne des ONG qui veille sur le scrutin se nomme «le Vote et au-delà» (Oy ve ötesi). Elle s’est formée à Istanbul, à l’occasion des élections locales de 2014, au lendemain du soulèvement de Gezi (2013). Elle enverra 195 000 «témoins» pour surveiller des urnes de différentes villes du pays le 24 juin.…  Seguir leyendo »

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 18: Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wave flags as they gather in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on July 18, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Clean up operations are continuing in the aftermath of Friday's failed military coup attempt which claimed the lives of more than 208 people. In raids across Turkey 7,543 people have been arrested in relation to the failed coup including high-ranking soldiers and judges, Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim has said. (Photo by Kursat Bayhan/Getty Images)

On April 18, I was in a seaside coffeehouse in Istanbul when Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called snap elections for June 24. There was confusion and even panic among customers: he had caught the nation off-guard. Political parties had only sixty-seven days to prepare, and if Erdoğan won he would likely hold the reins for at least another decade. But then came an intriguing thought: if he lost—and Erdoğan has never lost an election in sixteen years—the surprise elections might be his exit.

Turkey’s new presidential system, adopted after a referendum in 2017, is nerve-racking for Erdoğan and his rivals.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por dónde comenzar a escribir un artículo preelectoral cuando hay demasiado en juego y la sociedad está extremadamente polarizada en dos partes de casi las mismas dimensiones? La pregunta viene a cuento porque las elecciones son trascendentales para el futuro del país y hay interrogantes sobre si pueden ser libres y justas. Los próximos comicios que tendrán lugar en Turquía este domingo —tanto presidenciales como legislativos— no son solo para elegir quién gobernará el país, sino cómo se gobernará. Entre otras cosas, marcarán la fecha de entrada en vigor de las enmiendas a la Constitución. Aprobado con un referéndum muy controvertido en abril 2017, Turquía se convertirá en un sistema presidencial con mecanismos de control muy débiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

A cardboard cut-out of Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair and the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

On Sunday, voters in Turkey will face a stark choice between two paths. One, embodied by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, entails a further descent into authoritarianism and a deepening of ethnic and sectarian divides. The other, represented by the opposition, offers the potential for national reconciliation, a return to parliamentary democracy and an easing of tensions with the West. The stakes have never been higher.

Opinion polls show a deeply polarized nation, evenly split between the pro-Erdogan camp and an opposition bloc led by pro-secular presidential candidate Muharrem Ince. Not only will the outcome affect the Turkish people. It also will determine whether Turkey — a critical Middle Eastern power and a vital member of NATO — continues its drift away from the U.S.-led…  Seguir leyendo »

Todo o nada. Este es el espíritu con el que los principales candidatos y fuerzas políticas concurren a las elecciones turcas del 24 de junio. Una sensación que se agudizará si, dos semanas después, el 8 de julio hay segunda vuelta para elegir al Presidente. A mediados de abril, Erdoğan decidió dar un golpe de efecto anunciando la convocatoria de elecciones anticipadas. Pretendía coger por sorpresa a la oposición, aprovechar las ganancias electorales del éxito militar en el norte de Siria y acudir a las urnas antes de que la situación económica se deteriorase. Lo que no se imaginaban entonces ni Erdoğan ni sus asesores es que sus rivales tuviesen la agilidad suficiente para articular coaliciones en tan poco tiempo, ni que las perspectivas económicas se deteriorasen tanto en cuestión de semanas.…  Seguir leyendo »