A democracy moving forward, together

Published 26.06.2019 23:51
Updated 27.06.2019 00:19

The People's Alliance, formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), came in first in the March 31 municipal elections in Turkey, receiving 52 percent of the votes. On the other hand, the Nation's Alliance, made up of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Good Party (İP) with de facto support from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), received only 38 percent of the votes.

However, responding to a series of objections, the Supreme Election Council (YSK) decided to renew the Istanbul mayoral polls, which had ended with a small margin of 13,000 votes.

Last weekend, 9 million voters in Istanbul headed to the polls once again to elect Istanbul's mayor. Ekrem İmamoğlu, the candidate of the Nation's Alliance, won with 54 percent of the votes. Binali Yıldırım, İmamoğlu's rival and the candidate of the People's Alliance, received 45 percent of the votes.

This picture is normal for Turkey, the only country in the region that has not lost the ability to determine its administrations through free and fair elections.

Since 1950, when the CHP's one-party rule ended and we switched to the multiparty democracy, Turkey has always given the first party in the polls it's due. We can easily say that 70 years of practicing democracy, as I have mentioned before, is longer than in many European countries.

I emphasize that this development is a routine for Turkish democracy. This is because the AK Party's 17-year success in all the elections it has run has led to stereotyped excuses in the opposition.

One of these stereotypes, which have become common as they have been constantly repeated, is undoubtedly the "one-man" rule discourse voiced in reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

There is no concrete data supporting this accusation, which the foreign press, as well as the internal opposition, frequently resort to. After all, those in power do not have authority that is not derived from law. Moreover, the opposition exerts its right to represent on a local and national basis according to the vote it receives. Today, opposition parties are at the helm of the local administrations in some of Turkey's largest cities.

After the Istanbul elections, which were renewed through the objections raised by the ruling party, the mayoral office has been indisputably given to the winning opposition candidate without losing any time – which has negated this argument.

Everyone has clearly seen that the opposition's long-time failure to come to power on a local and national basis is not because of government pressure, but because of its inability to convince the electorate. They have had to admit that there is no legal or actual obstacle facing the election winners. Now, Turkey has a four-year election-free period ahead. This is promising for us, the Turkish voters, who are bored of elections.

Fellow foreigners should abandon the urban legends and look for ways to benefit from stability in Turkey, which is a luxury for many institutionalized democracies nowadays.

Turkey, which has successfully passed the latest democracy test and has institutionalized its democracy, offers numerous opportunities to investors.

This is the most realistic and the most useful way forward for all of us. We can all win together.

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