From its foundation to the present, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has identified itself with Turkey's future and the people's destiny. Since 2002, the AK Party has represented Turkey's growth and propelling the country to the world stage. It has transformed the sociology of the country, and the AK Party now strives to fully grasp the dynamics of the "new Turkey" by putting an emphasis on the sensibilities and values of Turkish society. The achievements that the AK Party accomplished in the last 17 years guarantee and herald future achievements that it will carry out in the upcoming period. As the AK Party has been known for keeping the promises it has made before the elections, the electors have great confidence in Binali Yıldırım, the AK Party's candidate for the municipality of Istanbul.
Meanwhile, the Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu has struggled to earn the sympathy of the public through adopting a nondiscriminatory, embracing and uniting political discourse. Imitating the AK Party's political strategies, the CHP aims at charming apolitical voters and the electors from different political allegiances by underlining not the existent political differences in society, but rather public services that they promise to realize. Yet, the sincerity of the CHP's embracing discourse is a matter of debate. Looking at their past performances most of the voters doubt whether the CHP will keep its electoral promises, along with the present nondiscriminatory political discourse.
The Istanbul election on June 23 is of considerable importance for Turkey's future. However, misinformation currently plagues the process, as certain political actors and media institutions continue to fabricate and spread fake news. Voters tend to believe the news that praises their own candidate and degrades the rival candidate. Therefore, it is crucial to convey correct information to the public and to demonstrate the factuality and practicability of all electoral promises, only then can the Istanbul election contribute to the future of Turkish politics.
When the AK Party came to power there had been a huge "investment and service deficit" in the country as a whole, and in municipalities in particular. The AK Party governments and municipalities succeeded in eliminating the immense deficit through decisive cooperation. These investments and services reached such a degree that they eventually became ordinary occurrences in the eyes of the public. To illuminate this point, three specific examples pertaining to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will suffice:
-Concerning at least half of Istanbul's population, the construction of the Halkalı-Gebze subway line took 10 years and cost TL 1 billion. Nonetheless, such a massive investment did not come to the fore for public interest.
-Although the Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey subway line is about to be completed, nobody seems to know about this ambitious project - to such an extent that one of the electoral promises of Ekrem İmamoğlu includes the construction of the exact same subway line. However, the test drive of this subway line was already conducted by Binali Yıldırım himself.
-In a similar vein, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality established numerous animal houses throughout the city. Nonetheless, among the electoral promises of the CHP, the construction of animal houses constitutes one of their primary topics.
In this respect, although the AK Party has always been successful in realizing significant public investments and services, it has not been successful in conveying its "success stories" to the public. Apart from traffic jams, Istanbul's infrastructural problems have been resolved to a large extent. Hereafter, electors in Istanbul lean toward individual issues. Grasping such a fundamental change in electoral attitude, the CHP has, in the municipalities that it has taken over from the AK Party, succeeded in earning the support of a significant portion of the public without "pounding a nail."
In this respect, althoug
h both Beylikdüzü and Esenyurt resemble each other in terms of misgovernment, the AK Party lost in Esenyurt and the CHP's mayor of Beylikdüzü has become its candidate for Istanbul municipality.
The AK Party has difficulty recognizing individual voters who have flourished thanks to the economic growth of the country achieved during the AK Party's political reign. Electors increasingly prioritize their individual demands for the candidates. In the new electoral campaign of Binali Yıldırım for the redo election, individual demands have been rightfully prioritized.
The achievements that the AK Party has accomplished has enabled the AK Party municipality to remain in power in Istanbul for decades. Nonetheless, if a political party aims at securing its public support, its governors and members should exist within the people and among the capillary vessels of society. The AK Party has the responsibility to not only realize successful public services but also to convey them to the public by telling its "success story."
In the upcoming election, candidates must discuss Istanbul compared other global cities. Istanbul is a significant axis in the world. In fact, Istanbul surpasses Paris, New York and Tokyo in terms of its historical heritage. Being the capital of three civilizations, Istanbul is as sacred as Jerusalem, as cosmopolitan as Paris and as attractive as London. Apart from municipal services, we must discuss the future of Istanbul. Will Istanbul become a city of innovation, tourism, education or history? Binali Yıldırım fits such a global vision and the voters of Istanbul will certainly support the candidate who will propel the city even further into the league of global cities.
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