June 23, 2019

THE DISCIPLINE OF DEMOCRACY:

Istanbul heads back to the polls in test for Erdogan and Turkish democracy (SBS, 6/23/19)

The city of 15 million is Turkey's economic powerhouse and has been a crucial source of patronage for Islamic conservatives since Erdogan himself won the mayorship a quarter-century ago.

But Imamoglu, of the secular Republican People's Party, has become a household name since being stripped of his victory.

He has vowed a "battle for democracy" and used an upbeat message under the slogan "Everything will be fine", in stark contrast to the usual aggressive name-calling of Turkish politics.

At a voting station in the trendy Beyoglu neighbourhood, 31-year-old architect Begum said: "I voted against injustice and those who seek to polarise this nation."

Imamoglu faces Binali Yildirim, a mild-mannered Erdogan loyalist who oversaw several huge transport projects and served as prime minister.

Yildirim's well-funded campaign has included ads on YouTube to attract younger voters and support from a pliant mainstream media.

Fearing fraud, the opposition has mobilised an army of lawyers from across Turkey to monitor Sunday's election, with the Istanbul Bar Association unfurling a huge banner at their headquarters that reads: "Stand guard for democracy". 

The March election showed Erdogan's party remains the most popular in Turkey, adored by millions for overseeing dramatic growth, fiercely defending the country's interests abroad and allowing religious conservatives a seat at the table. 

But double-digit inflation and rising unemployment have dented Erdogan's reputation for economic stewardship.





Posted by at June 23, 2019 8:05 AM

  

« GETTING THE YAK BUTTER IS TOUGHER...: | Main | HECK, I'D MARRY THE oTHER bROTHER...: »