06 December 2018 21:42

Unease in the ruling AKP over the alliance with the nationalist MHP in local elections

Prof. Dr Yüksel Taşkın has commented on the alliance between the ruling AKP and MHP, and the unease this alliance has caused in the AKP.


Birkan BULUT

President and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced most of his Party’s candidates for the local elections to be held in March 2019.

Prof. Dr Yüksel Taşkın answered our questions about what’s happening in the upcoming local elections in terms of the political alliances, drawing attention to the inner workings of the AKP.

Taşkın stressed that “the AKP has not yet institutionalized as a party”. “Despite the fact that it has nearly 10 million members, it has not created new cadres. One man decides everything, and only those who get Erdoğan’s approval can be a candidate.”


Taşkın also commented about the undeclared candidacy of Binali Yildirim, former prime minister and the current Speaker of Grand National Assembly, for the Mayor of Istanbul. “Yildirim is trying to arrange who is going to work for him in the Districts of Istanbul.”  He highlighted  Yıldırım’s concerns over his relatively lower status in the protocol in case he is elected as Mayor of Istanbul. He is reported to say “You are appointing me to this post but I will have no say.”


Although most candidates of the AKP have been announced, there are still areas with undeclared candidates. It is thought that MHP will not declare candidates in some cities to increase the chance of AKP candidates.

As AKP still does not have mayoral candidates in cities such as the western towns of Manisa and Isparta, and the southern towns of Mersin, Osmaniye and Adana, Erdoğan said: “Surely, we’ll have a gesture of goodwill”.

Taşkın believes MHP and the break-away IYI (GOOD) Party do not have enough vote to win a municipality by themselves. “Especially MHP cannot get good results in Adana. AKP is the first party there. How will they convince the Kurdish voters from whom they got the vote before? The Alliance has not been declared earlier and there have already been some expectations about candidates. There are some plans involving these towns, but how will AKP convince its organization?”


Taşkın also answered questions about the candidacy of the government-appointed trustees, who replaced the elected mayors of Diyarbakır and Hakkari, mostly Kurdish populated south-eastern towns.

“This means that the HDP (People’s Democracy Party) and the government will be in a race in these elections. I think people will give a clear message. If the government appoints new trustees after the elections [in case HDP candidates win] this would mean ignoring the will of the people. This country has a tradition of local administration since the 1800s. The first mukhtar elections [for the smallest local administration for villages] were held in the 1830s. Reversing this won't work in the long run,” said Taşkın.