Turkey: What Does CHP’s Victory After 47 Years Mean? – OpEd


The moment that the Turkish people have been waiting for a long time has arrived, and the results have surprised many. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) clearly won the municipal elections for the first time in 47 years. Against the background of such a significant event, a number of questions arose. What is the significance of this victory for Türkiye? Will Azerbaijan be affected by this political change?

How did the CHP win?

The biggest visible change of this election is undoubtedly the change of the political map. It is an indication the secular-conservative polarization accompanying this political map is beginning to soften. In fact, from a realistic perspective, many predictions were made that the CHP would win these elections. However, the fact that Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership was defeated in the presidential elections held in May 2023 could be seen to have deterred many from these predictions.

The most surprising point here was that the CHP was already present in the cities of Eastern Anatolia. And these cities were the cities where the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was much stronger. This actually showed the difference between municipal elections and presidential elections and the strong factor of economic problems. It can be assumed that the economic problems existing in the country are already felt in the lower class categories of the country, and for this reason, AKP supporters did not actually change their vote in the elections but boycotted this election in a kind of silent way. It can be assumed that such a step was taken under the thought that “after all, these elections will not affect the change of power”. However, AKP’s failure to produce a healthy opponent can also be a separate factor. 

History repeats itself…

From the first day that Ekrem İmamoğlu won the mayorship of Istanbul in 2019, the media, the public, and many politicians said that he was following the path of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdoğan came to politics under a similar scenario. Before evaluating the possibility of Imamoglu becoming the president, I think it would be more appropriate to touch on another point:

The Rise of the New Welfare Party

The rise of Fatih Erbakan, the son of the former prime minister of Türkiye, Necmettin Erbakan, should be remembered as the most surprising event. The indicator of 6.19% undoubtedly makes them the most surprising candidate of the election. In future dates, we can see his attempts to come to the forefront of politics like his father and former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan. Accordingly, other parties with small percentages can be expected to gain strength in the future as well. As a last note, I think that the President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcoming this significant event as an indicator of the country’s democracy, may be the most positive moment of these elections. Municipal elections are truly a democratic success of the Turkish Republic. 

The possibility of Imamoglu’s presidency and relations with Azerbaijan…

Many are already pointing to Ekram Imamoglu as the CHP’s obvious candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 2028 presidential election. However, Erdogan said that the March 31 elections will be his last elections. But if it doesn’t happen and he runs again for the presidency, which requires a constitutional amendment, then we can see a different scene here. 

The fear of changing relations with Azerbaijan or the existence of such a background is certainly absurd. Before that, Kılıçdaroğlu’s appearance in the presidential elections held in Türkiye with a number of unsuccessful projects, which showed Azerbaijan as an “outsider”, undoubtedly caused fear in many. However, such an issue cannot be discussed. Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Türkiye in political, economic and other fields is not a short-term, one-time cooperation. Therefore, I think it is not meaningful to wait for the impact of these events on Azerbaijan. There are still more than 4 years ahead. Regardless of the results, Azerbaijan will not be affected by these processes. 

Akbar Novruz

Akbar Novruz is a journalist from Azerbaijan. He is the editor of ED News in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mr. Novruz has authored many OpEds with a focus on International Politics and the Geopolitics of Southern Caucasus.

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