From 1994 to 2019, for almost 25 years, Istanbul had been governed first by the Welfare Party (RP) and then by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Today, the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) governs Turkey's greatest city. Due to some strategic mistakes by the AK Party and the Republican People's Party's (CHP) appropriate tactics during the electoral process, CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the elections. After ending the AK Party's quarter-century rule in Istanbul, İmamoğlu naturally draws attention in national and international political debates.
Immediately after his electoral triumph, İmamoğlu's future and his prospective candidacy for the CHP and even Turkish presidential elections have been brought to the table in public discussions. Some journalists have even dared to declare him the "next [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk."
During his electoral campaign, İmamoğlu adopted an innovative and unorthodox administrative stance. He indeed succeeded in convincing the majority of the electorate of his sincerity:
• For the pious voters, İmamoğlu put forward a personal image that was very similar to that of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He made public the fact that he is a pious person, that he performs prayers. He even recited the Quran at Istanbul's Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
• As opposed to the CHP, İmamoğlu has succeeded in not unsettling or disturbing charitable and pious foundations and institutions.
• He reassured municipal officials and employees that they would not lose their jobs during his tenure as Istanbul mayor.
• İmamoğlu claimed that Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality resources had been squandered by the local administration of the AK Party and promised to lower the cost of living in Istanbul.
• Instead of transportation, İmamoğlu underlined the problem of urban poverty and thus gave hope to the poor segments of the city.
• İmamoğlu promised to give scholarships to 75,000 students in Istanbul.
Erdoğan's political life has become the role model for all Turkish politicians who have just begun their political careers. Almost everyone dreams of achieving the same level of political success by repeating each step that constitutes it.
Since winning the Istanbul local elections in 1994, Erdoğan has transformed himself into a legendary political figure at an unprecedented pace. After its establishment in 2002, the AK Party came to power in the very first year of its foundation. Today, whenever a new political party is founded, new political figures entering the political stage dream of repeating Erdogan's political masterstroke. After all, they think politics is all about dreaming.
İmamoğlu is the best example among junior politicians aspiring to repeat Erdoğan's political destiny. Yet, his Istanbul administration has begun its journey with an utterly different appearance.
During the electoral process, İmamoğlu succeeded in conducting a successful electoral campaign. Although he won the elections, İmamoğlu continues to work on advertisements and propaganda. Instead of keeping his promises in terms of public services, İmamoğlu concentrates his energy on perpetuating an anti-AK Party discourse. The following policies lay bare the fact that İmamoğlu has already begun to make serious mistakes:
• By pointing out the municipal support given to charitable foundations, İmamoğlu broke his connection with pious voters.
• Despite his promise, İmamoğlu fired 1,400 workers employed during the AK Party administration.
• To defame the AK Party administration, İmamoğlu assembled all the automobiles at the Istanbul mayoral office's disposal to display to the mass media. As a great metropolis, the local administration in Istanbul naturally requires hundreds of automobiles to provide services to the residents of the city. By withdrawing them from service, İmamoğlu actually disrupted the ongoing process of local administration in Turkey's largest city.
• Although İmamoğlu continues to blame the former administrations for squandering public resources, his administration rented 990 new automobiles for the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration at a much higher rate compared to the former administration. Despite the endeavors of the CHP's officials to withhold this information, AK Party group head Mehmet Tevfik Göksu shared it with the public.
• İmamoğlu raised the prices of bread and parking in Istanbul.
İmamoğlu's political image, which was successfully crafted during the electoral campaign, has already started to deteriorate, even though his administration is only at the beginning of its term.