#Middle East

Erdogan choose nationalist to contest for Ankara mayor

Istanbul top prize as Turkey votes in local elections - UTV Pakistan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a significant move in the upcoming local elections on March 31 by selecting a nationalist candidate from a hard-right party to run for mayor of Ankara. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is determined to regain control of Turkey’s main cities, particularly Istanbul and Ankara, which were won by the secular opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the 2019 elections, challenging Erdogan’s political dominance. Additionally, Erdogan aims to win back opposition-held Izmir after his re-election as president last year.

The chosen candidate, Turgut Altinok, a 62-year-old leader of Ankaras working-class Kecioren district, has been handpicked by Erdogan to challenge the incumbent mayor Mansur Yavas. Interestingly, both Altinok and Yavas share similar backgrounds, having previously been members of the hard-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) before branching off into different factions. It is worth noting that Yavas has gained immense popularity in Turkey due to his focus on addressing local issues rather than engaging in national politics.

Erdogan has been vocal in accusing Yavas’ CHP party of being influenced by imperialist and terrorist forces, a message that resonated with voters during his successful re-election campaign. In response, the pro-Kurdish DEM Party, which joined the opposition alliance under a different name last year, plans to field its own candidates in most major cities, including Ankara. However, the party is yet to decide whether to nominate a mayoral candidate in Istanbul to avoid splitting the opposition vote.

It is crucial to highlight that Istanbul’s current mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, must secure re-election if he hopes to fulfill his ambition of becoming Turkey’s president after Erdogan’s term ends in 2028. The local elections hold immense significance for the political landscape of Turkey, as they will determine the balance of power in major cities and potentially shape the future of the country.

Erdogan choose nationalist to contest for Ankara mayor

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