Turkey in the run-up to local elections

The campaign for local elections in Turkey on 31 March is gathering pace. All eyes are on Istanbul, where the opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is running for re-election. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presented former city planning minister Murat Kurum as İmamoğlu's opponent on Sunday. Commentators speculate on the election outcome.

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Yetkin Report (TR) /

The real candidate is Erdoğan

Yetkin Report voices concern about the independence of the candidates:

“The talk behind the scenes in Ankara is that the AKP election campaign will be dominated by President Tayyip Erdoğan everywhere. And the party's candidates will be AKP technocrat politicians, except perhaps in small communities where local politics is still influential. In other words, everywhere, the candidate is Erdoğan. ... After the period of technocratic ministers under Erdoğan, we may now see the beginning of a period of technocratic mayors. ... If they win, Erdoğan wins. If they lose, it will be the candidate who lost.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Close race in Istanbul

Habertürk turns its attention to the rivals İmamoğlu and Kurum:

“Istanbul is heading into the most unpredictable elections ever to take place there. The situation is different from 2019. In March 2019, Ekrem İmamoğlu won the elections by a wafer-thin margin and the AKP made the wrong move by forcing new elections, which only increased his lead. However, as everyone knows, there was a clearly defined [opposition] alliance at the time. Now five years have passed. There is no longer an alliance, but the sharp polarisation in Turkey continues. If this creates a natural alliance effect at the grassroots level, İmamoğlu still has a chance, even if it is very likely that the AKP will recapture Istanbul.”