The re-run Istanbul mayoral election has ended. Ekrem İmamoğlu, the candidate of the opposition, has outscored Binali Yıldırım, the candidate of the coalition of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The ones who claimed that “our votes have been stolen” after the previous mayoral elections on the 31st of March have nothing to say anymore.
The result is that AKP which tasted the defeat on the 31st of March has entered the process of dissolution now.
For AKP, the result is a huge defeat.
Besides, it is not only a heavy defeat of AKP but also of the AKP-MHP alliance too.
The coming of this defeat was almost certain. When the Supreme Election Board decided to re-run the election after the 31st of March, we said on the 27th of May:
“The essence of our election campaign for the 23rd of June will be to win the workers, labourers and poor people who form the base of AKP but did not vote for AKP on the 31st of March because they understood that the politics of the AKP-MHP alliance is at odds with justice, equality, freedom, and democracy.
The Istanbul election is not about Istanbul anymore. It is the democratic platform of proving AKP that everything may not go as planned!
The majority of Turkish population think that what has been done to Imamoğlu is unfair. And it is not just that!
After the elections on the 31st of March, AKP continued its campaign with terrible racism by humiliating Greeks, people from the Black Sea region, Pontians. Imamoğlu’s rallies in the Black Sea region of Turkey demonstrated that those humiliations led to an increase in support to Imamoğlu.
However, it is possible that the decision of the Supreme Election Board would yield a result which is exactly opposite to the expectations of the leadership of AKP. It is possible because the election of the 31st of March has happened. People know the truth, they have taken courage, it has become evident that it is possible to defeat the AKP-MHP coalition through democratic means. Although the traumas of the period of the state of emergency has still been continuing and, for instance, Füsun Üstel, one of the academicians who signed the peace petition, was sent to prison, the elections on the 31st of March buoyed people up and made people think that it is possible to defeat AKP and create a change. Therefore, it created a mood and environment which is quite different from the psychological conditions of the period of the state of emergency in Turkey.
The messages of the tens of artists, even the ones who were humiliated because they shook hands with Erdoğan, declaring support to Imamoğlu regardless their choice of the vote on the 31st of March indicates a shift in the direction of the wind in Turkish politics”.
This is exactly what has happened today. The direction of the wind in politics changed on the 31st of March and it turned into a storm on the 23rd of June.
Ekrem İmamoğlu outscored Binali Yıldırım by about 800 thousand of the vote!
The storm is not only about the difference in the number of votes. According to the initial results Ekrem Imamoğlu came to the fore in the 13 districts in where Binali Yıldırım, the candidate of AKP-MHP coalition had come to the fore in the previous elections on the 31st of March.
A few days later after the elections on the 31st of March Erdoğan called CHP ‘lame duck’ since it did not manage to win the majority of the districts in Istanbul.
Now, we are in a new situation.
The AKP-MHP alliance has started to dissolve, AKP is faced with a deep crisis. Besides, the voters of Istanbul paid off the dishonesty, hypocrisy and attitudes such as blaming everyone with racism, declaring everyone who thinks different from AKP by being traitor, intending to harm democracy, humiliating the poor, relentlessly oppressing Kurds, practicing oppression via jurisdiction, unlawfulness, making the working class to pay the bill of the economic crisis, taking sides with the rich against the poor, the political and psychological environment created by the monologist in the media and the restrictions of the freedom of thought and expression.
Adding to the districts in where the opposition won the majority of the votes on the 31st of March, the districts of Üsküdar, Fatih, Eyüp, Güngören, Bahçelievler, Sancaktepe, Silivri, Çatalca, Şile, Tuzla, Zeytinburnu, Bayrampaşa and Beyoğlu which had voted for AKP’s candidate in the previous election by majority also turned to Ekrem Imamoğlu in the re-run mayoral election of Istanbul on the 23rd of June.
Now, AKP will look for a scapegoat to blame again! It is very easy for them to find the first one. The ones who had claimed that the votes were stolen after the election on the 31st of March turned the withdrawal of AKP into a fast dissolution. The AKP members who look for a scapegoat can look at them!
The AKP members who look for a scapegoat can look at the mirror!
The AKP members who look for a scapegoat can look at their own leadership who has been increasingly authoritarian after the failed military coup of the 15th of July, 2016.
The AKP members who look for a scapegoat can look at the political tendency of their party and of their alliance with MHP which is native and national and highly oppressive.
The first thing to be said about the results is that the dissolution of AKP has become definite.
The leadership of AKP had reduced the elections on the 23rd of June into a matter of survival. The results indicate that the matter of survival has started for AKP.
A couple of days before the election, the native and national coalition of AKP and MHP published the letter of Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdish leader who has been in prison in Turkey for 20 years, in order to puzzle the Kurdish voters. However, it did not work as they expected and this is the proof of the fact that this coalition is far from developing reasonable solutions and running the country.
There was not going to be any negative result of publishing Öcalan’s letter. On the contrary, it revealed the inconsistency of the native and national coalition, since just a month ago even the word of Kurdistan was banned everywhere. This inconsistency, the vicious attitude only aiming at winning the election, the quoting of Anatolia News Agency (the official state news agency of Turkey) from Öcalan in Kurdish, the complaining of Bahçeli (the leader of the fascist party, MHP which formed alliance with AKP) from HDP (the coalition party of Kurdish movement and part of Turkish left) because they did not listen to what Öcalan said in the letter indicates that the leadership of AKP is far from comprehending the reality of the situation.
Every step that they have taken to disentangle makes the situation even more complicated.
The Istanbul mayoral election on the 23rd of June has decisively made this clear.
Now, AKP is a party which has lost almost all the metropolitan municipalities of Turkey including Istanbul.
The political weakness created by the existing situation would be that the opposition will likely push for the general election with the motivation that it gets from the elections of 31st of March and 23rd of June.
We had said that we would vote for İmamoğlu “in order to give him his due, to give him his mandate back because what has been done to him was unfair”.
When we declared our decision we did not have any delusion about İmamoğlu and CHP.
There is a deepening economic and political crisis and problems stemming from the polarisation in front of us and these problems will even get deeper after the election. We have to be ready for this. The loss of this election by the AKP-MHP-state alliance will mean that we would be in a more advantageous position in these unstable conditions. A strong and decisive reply has been given to the political power which organized a clear injustice by re-running the Istanbul mayoral election. Now we have to set about to organize the working class and all the oppressed parts of the society by creating an anti-capitalist alternative.
Comparing to the 23rd of June, we are ahead of the game on the 24th of June.
Revolutionary Socialist Worker Party.