Tag Archives: 30 March elections

Why Turkey’s Elections May Not Matter


30 March 2014

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Today, 52 million Turks cast their votes in local elections. Although the vote won’t affect the parliamentary majority of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the elections are perceived to be a popularity contest for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is mired in a major corruption scandal. Social media users have reported that they’ve never seen such long lines at polling stations. It is expected that these elections will witness the highest participation rates in any election in Turkish history. It seems like Turkey has a chance to change.

Supporters of Erdogan at an election rally, July 2007 (Photo by Ramdam / Wikimedia Commons)
Supporters of Prime Minister Erdogan at an election rally, July 2007 (Photo by Ramdam / Wikimedia Commons)

Some observers, including Al-Monitor columnist Mustafa Akyol, argue that Turkey’s local elections matter because they will act as a predictor for this summer’s presidential election in which Prime Minister Erdogan is expected to run. Today’s vote, observers say, will also help to predict the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2015 (but may be held at the same time as the presidential election).

But several reasons might make today’s local elections and voting in general an irrelevant practice in the Turkish political context…

[To read the rest of the post, click here.]

Barın Kayaoğlu is finishing his doctorate in history at the University of Virginia. He was recently a Smith Richardson Foundation fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University. You can follow him on Twitter (@barinkayaoglu) and Facebook (Barın Kayaoğlu).