May 08 2019

Election rerun in Istanbul is a grave mistake for Turkey’s Erdoğan - analyst

The cancellation of the Istanbul mayoral elections was a huge mistake for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) because the opposition remains determined to win control of the city council, analyst Louis Fishman said in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"The cancellation of the Istanbul elections is actually a worst-case scenario for Erdoğan and the AKP," Fishman said. "It is Erdoğan and the AKP who have invited this fateful, uphill battle on to themselves," he said.

The Supreme Election Council on Monday upheld an appeal by the AKP that alleged irregularities in the March 31 polls that saw main opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu elected mayor of Istanbul by a narrow margin. The council ordered a rerun of the vote on June 23.

The opposition win in Istanbul shows the AKP has not yet gained total political control over Turkey, Fishman said, after "17 increasingly authoritarian years in power". The determination of the opposition will stop the AKP party reaching its goals, he said.

With Turkey in an economic recession, the anti-Erdoğan opposition has gained momentum and is now united around İmamoğlu's slogan "everything is going to be just fine", Fishman said.