Information operations

Turkey’s Unexpected Election Outcome


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Erdoğan may well have overplayed his hand over the last few weeks. If Turkish observers are correct, he played a variant of Putin’s Krymnash game too hard, and the public disconnected from his conspiracy theory centered narrative. Very good insights in the WOTR and TC essays.


AKP spokesman compares negative reports on Turkish government to Christchurch massacre | Ahval

Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said “evil networks” propagating “black propaganda” against the Turkish government after last Sunday’s local elections were only different in scale to the gunman who killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand last month. Çelik appeared on Tuesday evening to discuss the elections, in which the opposition made startling wins in major cities including Istanbul and Ankara, according to the Supreme Electoral Council’s as-yet unofficial preliminary count. The biggest point of controversy centered on the Istanbul mayoral seat, which the YSK says was won by main opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu by over 27,000 votes. The AKP has disputed the results and demanded an investigation of votes discounted in the first count. Çelik on Tuesday reserved his harshest words for unnamed foreign actors he said had tried to “trip up” Turkey in the aftermath of Sunday’s elections. “We know them well from our foreign relations,” he said, before accusing these unnamed enemies of running a “black propaganda campaign” against the AKP by publishing news reports that described the ruling party’s performance in the election negatively. “The only difference between these evil networks with their black propaganda and the murderer who carried out the attacks in New Zealand is in the dosage, the mindset behind them is the same,” Çelik said.

How is the Christchurch Attack Reverberating in Erdogan’s Turkey? | War On The Rocks

There are about 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world, all of which probably strongly condemned the attack against innocent Muslims in Christchurch on

Erdogan tried to make local Turkish elections about national security, but it didn’t work | The Conversation

Local elections in Turkey over the weekend saw a some key cities and towns slip away from the party of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party.

İmamoğlu blasts ruling party and state news agency during Ankara visit | Ahval

Ekrem İmamoğlu, the opposition mayoral candidate for Istanbul who unofficial results place as the winner of last Sunday’s race, has raised concerns that the ruling party may be disputing the results in order to buy time to dispose of evidence of impropriety. After a long delay, the Supreme Electoral Council announced on Monday that the preliminary count showed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate had beaten his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rival, Binali Yıldırım, by over 20,000 votes. The AKP, which had already declared Yıldırım’s victory before the count was finished on Sunday night, has said there were a large number of inconsistencies in the vote count and is appealing the result. “We’ve been hearing reports from the Metropolitan Municipality for the past two days about people smuggling out documents and trying to wipe their offices clean … I want to come and take measures. I will make an account of the last penny of the people of Istanbul’s money,” İmamoğlu said. The CHP mayor also hit back at the state-run Anadolu Agency on Tuesday election night reporting that he called “manipulation”. Anadolu for unexplained reasons stopped uploading data of the vote tally as İmamoğlu’s total votes closed in on Yıldırım’s on Sunday night, leaving viewers on tenterhooks until the following day.

Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council rules for vote recount in 8 Istanbul districts – Daily Sabah

Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) convened early Wednesday for an extraordinary session to discuss the recount process in Istanbul’s eight…

Some votes to be reassessed in several districts of Istanbul – Turkey News

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) decided early April 3 that some votes will be reassessed in several districts of Istanbul following March 31 local elections.

Some votes to be reassessed in 7 districts of Istanbul

Decision adopted by Turkey’s election body at extraordinary meeting early Wednesday – Anadolu Agency

Erdogan’s party wants recount of Istanbul loss | World | The Times

Istanbul President Erdogan’s Justice and Development party (AKP) has demanded partial recounts in Ankara and Istanbul after losing control of the cities to the main opposition. The AKP lost power in almost every major city in Turkey on Sunday. In Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate for the s

The rise of Ekrem İmamoğlu as a new generation politician

The local elections are over, although the announcement of the final results will take some time because of the appeal processes launched by the political parties in the constituencies they lost.

Erdogan Fires Back at Surprise Election Results | World | US News

Rumors that the outcome spells the beginning of the end for the hard-line president are only ‘wishful thinking,’ a spokesman says.

How I overestimated Turkey’s Erdogan and ruling AKP – analyst | Ahval

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party still controls most of the country’s cities and towns, but Sunday’s local elections, in which Erdoğan’s party lost Ankara and likely Istanbul, marked a surprising defeat, according to an analysis for the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank. “This was an outcome I did not expect,” wrote Steven Cook, senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at CFR, referring to an article he wrote just before the vote. “No excuses – I blew it.” Cook pinned his analysis on four factors, three of which turned out to be incorrect. The first was Erdoğan’s political savvy, which he has long admired. “Somewhere along the way that admiration for Erdoğan’s political chops blinded me to the fact that he does not have a perfect theory of politics,” wrote Cook. “The Turkish leader and I thought that national identity, religious identity, and fear about the division of the country at the hands of the Kurds would outweigh a recession, 20 percent inflation, and 25 percent unemployment in the minds of voters. Both Erdoğan and I miscalculated.”

Don’t let Erdoğan seize Istanbul, Ankara, Bloomberg columnist says | Ahval

The United States should not allow an increasingly authoritarian Turkish leader to steal control of Istanbul and Ankara from the opposition in a recount of Sunday’s election, Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake wrote.

U.S. State Dept. calls on Ankara accept election results | Ahval

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department has said the Turkish government should respect the legitimate results of the local elections last Sunday. State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino was asked to comment on the controversial opposition victories in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, and Ankara, its capital. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has made moves to contest the result in both cities. “Free and fair elections are essential for any democracy. That means acceptance of legitimate election results, which is essential,” Palladino said. “We expect nothing less from Turkey, which has a long proud tradition in this respect,” he added. While the ruling party suffered major losses in Turkey’s big cities, it performed well on a district level and retained a high percentage of the total tally of votes.

Foreign gov’ts should respect electoral process in Turkey, communications director Altun says – Daily Sabah

Turkey urges all parties, including foreign governments to respect the legal process after local elections and refrain from any steps that may be construed…

AKP’s local election losses could mean foreign policy trouble for Erdogan | Arab News

ANKARA: There could be repercussions for Turkey’s foreign policy following losses for the president’s party in local elections, experts have told Arab News. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost control over the capital Ankara and economic powerhouse Istanbul in Sunday’s vote.International challenges include a clash with the US over

Erdogan’s party challenges election results after apparent defeat in Turkey’s cities – The Washington Post

Both the ruling party and the opposition claimed victory in Istanbul, the country’s economic engine.

Opinion | A Wake-Up Call for President Erdogan – The New York Times

In local Turkish elections, the opposition, united and organized, took on an autocrat.

Turkey’s elections show the limits of Erdogan’s nationalism – The Washington Post

Losses in the country’s major cities were a rebuke of the Turkish president, who had campaigned once more on an angry nationalist platform.

A Rebuke for Turkey’s Strongman – WSJ

Erdogan’s party suffers its worst setback since it came to power in 2002.

In Turkey, Erdoğan and his AKP stumble

Turkey’s local elections on Sunday, following a period of intensifying volatility in the country’s economy, produced shocking results.

Turkey’s Voters Stun Erdogan, Stoking His Ire

Turkish voters punished their ruling party in municipal elections over the weekend. That could be a good omen for America — unless the strategically crucial country has already drifted too far from Washington. For the first time in a quarter-century

Turkey’s Erdogan Faces Uphill Battle to Stay in Power | Need to Know | OZY

In his biggest political setback since taking power in 2003, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party has lost in several local elections.

Turkish Elections: Do Not Allow Erdogan to Annul the Results – Bloomberg

The U.S. and Europe cannot allow Turkey’s president to annul the results of votes in Ankara and Istanbul.

Erdogan’s party challenges election results after apparent defeat in Turkey’s cities – The Washington Post

Both the ruling party and the opposition claimed victory in Istanbul, the country’s economic engine.

In Turkey vote, ruling party’s recipe for trouble: too much Erdoğan – CSMonitor.com

Politics rewards confidence, and punishes overconfidence. As President Erdoğan ran around Turkey to bolster his party in municipal elections, his previously tried-and-true divisive rhetoric proved alienating.

Turkish democracy is the winner in these momentous local elections | Sinan Ülgen | Opinion | The Guardian

By toppling the AKP in Ankara and Istanbul, the opposition has shown that Erdogan’s ruling party is not an invincible force, writes Edam executive chairman Sinan Ülgen

Turkey election board: Eight Istanbul districts to recount votes | News | Al Jazeera

Recount in local polls comes after objections from Erdogan’s AK Party but opposition CHP says results won’t change.

Erdogan’s party appeals against Istanbul, Ankara results – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

ISTANBUL: Turkish Pre­si­­dent Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP on Tuesday appealed against results in Istanbul and Ankara following a weekend election after tallies showed the ruling party lost both key cities. Erdogan’s AKP and coalition partner won more than 50 per cent of votes nationwide in Sunday’s local ballot, but defeat in both Turkey’s capital and its economic hub would be a setback after the party’s decade and a half in power. The AKP appeals with electoral authorities, who have two days to decide whether the claims of irregularities have merit, may signal more ruling party challenges to the surprise opposition victories. “We have filed our objections with the electoral authorities in all 39 districts,” AKP’s Istanbul chief Bayram Senocak told reporters. “We have identified irregularities and falsifications.” He said the party had found an “excessive” difference between votes cast at ballot stations for their candidate and the data sent to electoral authorities. Hakan Han Ozcan, AKP’s Ankara chairman, told reporters they were also filing an appeal in 25 districts of the capital. Anadolu state news agency said results showed CHP opposition candidate Mansur Yavas with 50.93 percent of votes against 47.11 percent for the AKP.

Turks finally start standing up to Erdogan

Turkish voters punished their ruling party in municipal elections over the weekend. That could be a good omen for America — unless the strategically crucial country has already drifted too far from Washington. For the first time in a quarter-century, parties opposing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan scored major victories in local elections. Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and ­Development Party, or AKP, lost eight major cities to secularist candidates. Especially stinging for the AKP were losses in the capital, ­Ankara, and in Istanbul, the country’s economic nerve center. The Istanbul mayoralty was where Erdogan in 1994 launched his meteoric political career, one that has brought middle-class prosperity to millions of Turks — but at the price of the country’s democratic institutions and Western alliances. “The people have spoken, and now they must be punished,” former New York Mayor Ed Koch bitterly quipped after losing an election. But in Turkey, things no longer work that way. Erdogan has jailed journalists and packed independent institutions with cronies. An election defeat? Not so fast. The government has yet to certify results in Ankara, where the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, bested Erdogan’s AKP by 2 points. Same in Istanbul, where the CHP’s victory was razor thin — but still a win. Instead, a recount has been ­ordered, perhaps to be followed by another re-recount and another — until the desired results are in. Reversing century-old secularist traditions that created an imperfect but working democracy, Erdogan presides over a system in which the number of votes counts for much less than who counts the ballots. The question for America and its allies: Provided he accepts the ­results, will the shellacking force Erdogan to reassess his dreams of restoring Turkey’s lost Ottoman glory, with himself reigning as sultan? And will he rethink his ever-growing ties with ultra-nationalists at home and anti-Western forces in the region? Erdogan has spurned former Mideast allies while extending a hand to Russia, Iran and unsavory Sunni-Muslim groups.

Turkey lira slides as Erdogan’s party suffers pivotal losses

Unexpected losses for the Turkish president’s party in major cities Istanbul and Ankara are a verdict on his performance and have sent the lira spiraling.

Erdogan Appears to Suffer Major Defeats in Turkey’s Two Biggest Cities – The New York Times

Amid a deepening economic crisis, the Turkish president’s party seemed poised to lose the capital, Ankara, and his home city, Istanbul, in mayoral elections.

Erdogan suffers major setbacks in local elections in Turkey’s big cities | Reuters

Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan suffered stunning setbacks in local elections as his ruling AK Party lost control of the capital Ankara for the first time since the party’s founding in 2001, and was on course to lose the biggest prize of all, Istanbul.

Turkish voters send a clear message to Erdogan: Enough – The Washington Post

This is a watershed moment in Turkish political history. By Asli Aydintasbas April 1 at 12:32 PM ISTANBUL — Spring is coming to the shores of the Bosphorus after a long winter. In local elections across Turkey on Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost all the major cities, including Istanbul and the country’s capital, Ankara. After a divisive campaign in which the opposition candidates were accused of either being terrorists or being backed by terrorists, with threats of imprisonment or removal from office, Erdogan’s AKP also lost the entire Turkish coastline, all but one of Turkey’s major cities, and main Kurdish cities in the east. Despite a repressive atmosphere and relentless media coverage in favor of the AKP, Turkish voters have rallied behind opposition candidates in big cities, sending Erdogan a clear message: Enough is enough. This is a watershed moment in our political history. Istanbul is the financial hub of Turkey — and Ankara the bureaucratic one. But with its population of 15 million, Istanbul also bankrolls Turkey’s politics. That’s why the final nail-biting battle on Sunday night was for its conquest. As the saying goes, “whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey.” Since Erdogan’s own ascent to power started with his victory as Istanbul mayor in 1994, the symbolism is not lost on anyone. No matter how you look at it, the takeover by the secularist-led opposition after 25 years of Islamist reign marks the beginning of AKP’s political decline. It could still be years before there is a transition of any sort in Turkey, but Erdogan will not be a lifetime president. He is not invincible. Mind you, this wasn’t an ordinary campaign. Turkey’s strongman is not only a populist — he has also built an illiberal regime in which he controls much of the judiciary, all of the state institutions, the security agencies and the media. For a month now, building-sized posters of a stern-looking Erdogan saying, “Istanbul is my love,” were draped all over the city. He held as many as eight campaign rallies a day, with networks interrupting their programming to broadcast each and every one. As usual, Erdogan’s campaign theme was war against the enemies of the state: He showed footage of Kurdish politicians, feminists, even of the Christchurch massacre, to paint himself as a crusader against those that want to destroy, split up, weaken Turkey. This “enemies” also include liberals who backed the opposition, the West, Europe, George Soros, Israel, “atheists,” “finance barons,” including JP Morgan, which was targeted by an investigation last month for simply reporting that Turkish central bank reserves were declining. Imagine what a lunacy we live in.

Why Istanbul could decide the fate of Turkey’s election – The Washington Post

All eyes are on Turkey’s largest city.

Erdogan says his party wins election in Istanbul – news world | UNIAN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his ruling party has won “by a wide margin” in the municipal elections held in all provinces across the country on Sunday. At the same time, the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), chaired by the President of Turkey, lost the municipal vote in the capital city of Ankara.

Turkey’s elections show Erdogan’s power is finally waning – and a new political star is born in Istanbul | The Independent

You don’t need to understand Turkish to see how Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu managed to connect to sceptical supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice Development Party (AKP) on the campaign trail. In one moment at an Istanbul produce market captured on video, a pious AKP supporter confronts the candidate. The AKP built railroads while the opposition People’s

Turkey local elections: Setback for Erdogan in big cities – BBC News – YouTube

Erdogan announced the victory of his party in the municipal elections

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that his ruling party won “by a wide margin” in municipal elections held in all provinces of the country on Sunday and dealt, as he put it, “a blow to those who intended to bring Turkey to its knees.” Erdogan spoke after the publication of state-run media preliminary results of the vote. According to these results, the ruling party won 45 percent of the vote, but lost the position of mayor of the capital Ankara. Before the elections in the Western press, assumptions appeared that in the conditions of economic recession the Turkish president might lose control over Ankara and Istanbul. Istanbul is the largest city and financial capital of Turkey. Opinion polls have shown that the struggle here will be intense. The party of justice and development of Erdogan controls the city for over 15 years.