Turkey held municipal elections on Sunday and although the official results have not been announced yet, the percentage of votes each party and the alliances received have been revealed.The People's Alliance of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won 51.64 percent of the votes whereas the Nation Alliance of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Good Party (İP) got 37.57 percent.
The difference is substantial. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party got 44.3 percent of the votes. It was followed by the main opposition CHP with 30.12 percent. Most of the Anatolian cities voted extensively for the AK Party. The AK Party lost the capital Ankara but the results in the country's commercial capital, Istanbul, are not clear yet. However, in order to understand the outcomes, we should analyze the numbers from different perspectives.
The election results clearly showed us that Erdoğan's support in the Anatolian provinces and districts is as solid as it was in the June 2018 general and presidential elections. The rural areas, the conservative urban areas and a significant proportion of the center-right still vote for the AK Party.
The Nation Alliance won in some big municipalities and the coastal areas but the support of the CHP and İP is almost the same as in 2018. Actually, the picture in Turkey has not changed much since the presidential elections. The support for the AK Party and MHP was around 50 percent in the presidential elections in Istanbul and it is still the same. The alliance seems to have lost 2-3 points in Ankara. Due to the character of the municipal elections and the presence of alliances some municipalities change hands.
On the other hand, the CHP lost some municipalities in the places where the CHP has been intrinsically strong for many years and some cities in the Black Sea region. In general, more than half of all municipalities went to the AK Party.
So it isn't correct to conclude, like the most of Western media, that the AK Party lost Sunday's election. The overall support did not change. Of course, the party should take some lessons from losing the capital and some other big cities like Antalya but it should be pointed out that the numbers of AK Party voters are still at the same level.
Concerning the process in Istanbul, it should be known that recounting of invalid votes has been done in almost every previous election. In some parts of the country, the same process ended to the advantage of the CHP in the last election. Now the procedure is running according to law. But if the result still favors Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu, the AK Party should congratulate its rival and accept the new mayor of Turkey's biggest city. The same is true for the CHP. Their attitude seems to be quite emotional. İmamoğlu does not give an impression of respecting the judicial recounting process. I think this kind of attitude has always weakened the CHP; they shouldn't fall into making the same mistake again and instead should respect the rule of law.