File- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
CAIRO – 10 June 2019: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) are at risk to lose control of Istanbul for the first time in the upcoming Istanbul do-over mayoral election set to take place on June 23.
The electoral authorities declared re-election on May 6 after the Supreme Electoral Commission investigated claims made by the AKP that several members of multiple electoral boards in Istanbul were not qualified to serve.
Conversely, the commission controversially confirmed that the same boards stripped off their position would be eligible for the re-elections despite their alleged misconduct.
The initial elections took place on March 31 with Ekrem Imamoglu, a candidate from an opposing party, initially winning the election.
The AKP lost control of Turkey for the first time in 25 years after they lost the March 31 elections. However, electoral authorities declared re-election on May 6.
On June 7, Erdoğan urged voters to head to the polls for Istanbul's upcoming mayor re-elections set to take place on June 23. Erdogan said after Friday's prayers that the people must cast their votes in the forthcoming elections "to fulfill their duty for democracy."
The ruling party of President Erdoğan has insisted that Imamoglu is secretly Greek to discredit the opposing party's campaign. The claim is rooted in the fact that Imamoglu's hometown Trabzon, a province located on the Black Sea, was historically ruled by the Greeks and Persians.
Recent opinion polls indicate Imamoglu is nine percentage points ahead of his AKP rival, Binali Yildirim.
Erdoğan's influence in Turkish politics has gradually increased during his tenure through multiple constitutional referendums, with each one giving him more control and power on Turkish state affairs. Henceforth, Erdogan has steadily shifted Turkey into an authoritative regime with him at the forefront.
The 2017 constitutional referendum saw Turkey's executive branch transform into a presidential system. The changes in the constitution essentially allowed Erdoğan to have more control over all other branches of the Turkish government.
Istanbul is Turkey's economic powerhouse, and losing control of the city would deal a massive blow to the power grip that the ruling party and Erdogan have had over Turkish state affairs over the past two decades.
These upcoming elections could potentially serve as a power-shift in the trajectory of Turkish politics, and also possibly be the beginning of the end of Erdoğan's controversial regime.