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Local Elections in Turkey: Voters Go to Vote in Key Municipal Voices



Istanbul, Turkey – Millions of Turkish voters on Sunday vote in critical local elections after a heated campaign that dominates the country's economic and security debates.

Polls pose a big challenge for the Turks President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AK) have fueled high inflation and rising unemployment caused by a major currency crisis last year.

According to Taha Akiol, a Turkish political analyst and columnist, the vote is the "Heaviest" the Erdogan Party faces since it came to power in 2002

"The Party is trying to stay away from discussing real economic issues, "he said. 40% of its value against the US dollar last year. The currency crisis triggered in August after diplomatic chaos with Washington raised investor concerns about Central Bank independence and highlighted the worries about economic performance.

Erdogan turned to his supporters at a rally for local elections. in Istanbul on March 30 [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Voting started in eastern cities of Turkey at 7:00 am (05:00 GMT) and will end at 4:00 pm (14:00 GMT). Citizens in Western cities will vote from 06:00 GMT to 15:00 GMT.

Polls take place only weeks after official statistics show that in the last two quarters of 2018 the Turkish economy plunged into its first recession for a decade. In February, inflation was just under 20%, while the central interest rate of the Central bank is currently 24%.

The pound on Thursday resumed its slide after the return of liquidity to a key stock market in London after a return of its liquidity, an early decision by the authorities to keep it in motion aimed at preserving the stable currency and overcoming the short sellers – traders who are betting against the pound.

Erdogan has often accused foreign forces and "speculators" of currency fluctuations and other economic problems facing Turkey – a message he repeated this week.

"The attempts by a number of Western countries, most importantly the United States, to put pressure on Ankara were behind the manipulations of the Turkish currency market in August 2018," Erdogan told reporters.

"We need to discipline speculators on the market," he said at another address.

Competitive coalitions

With control of the major cities of Turkey for graphers, the AK Party of Erdogan entered the electoral race Wi Its Alliance in the last two studies – the Right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (IHL) under the People's Alliance.

The largest rival of the bloc is the Alliance of Nations, formed by the center-left opposition opposition Republican People's Party. (CHP) and right-wing party "Good" (IYI)

Both units have released dozens of joint candidates in the provinces, districts and cities of the country. Democratic Party of People's Democracy (HDP), the fifth fifth party represented in parliament, has not proposed candidates for mayor of the six largest provinces in Turkey, Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Antalya and Adana instead of supporting candidates who are fighting the Erdogan alliance.

In recent years, GDP has seen dozens of mayors removed and replaced by custodians for "terrorist allegations" in a state of emergency that was introduced after a failed coup in 2016. The emergency measure ended in July 2018

Nationalist rhetoric "

to the People's Alliance tried to connect local elections with internal and external risks endangering the security of the country.

The bloc's leaders accused parties in the National Alliance of cooperating with the illegal Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). , which has been fighting the Turkish state for more than 30 years in search of autonomy.

Erdogan himself pointed to the fact that pro-Kurdish GDP does not compete in big cities, but supports its opponents as evidence of that co-operation. 19659004] "They do not talk about the dirty talks about transferring the expansion of the PKK to the municipalities through the list of candidates [of the Nation Alliance]," Erdogan said in a recent rally.

The government claims that the HDP has organic ties to the PKK, a claim denied by the political party.

Separately, the parties that make up the National Alliance have repeatedly rejected allegations of co-operating with GDP.

Galip Dala y, a visiting associate at the University of Oxford, said the Erdogan bloc used "high nationalist rhetoric" during the campaign, with state security in its heart.

"They used the concept of terror and terrorism very generously in almost all areas of politics – they connect major issues with terrorism and security," said Dalai, a non-resident associate at the Brookings Institute in Doha, told Al Jazeera.

The bloc also linked Turkey's economic situation and the other problems faced by the country are conspiracies by internal and external actors, he said.

He also uses Turkish flags in his campaigns, not party flags in an apparent desire to attract voters of different origins

KPM leader Kemal Kilicharoglu blames the chronic economic mismanagement of part AK and Erdogan for stunning unemployment, high living costs and the weakening of the pound. serious problems . But they fail to explain how they will deal with these problems, "Kilicaroglu told his supporters earlier this week, arguing that the People's Alliance raises artificial security issues to divert voters from real problems. How is the mayor or a member of the city council working on state security or threats against Turkey? "

According to the Dalai, the National Alliance has conducted a low-profile strategy without promoting the political identity of the CHP and IYI Party

." Instead of presenting the identities of both parties, they put their candidates in the focus and the problems that the average citizens survive because of the economic crisis, "Dalai said.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter @Um_Uras


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