Istanbul wanted a change and got new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu says Gokce Kaya

670

(By Dr Shahid Qureshi Chief Editor ) : –  Exclusive interview with Gokce Kaya Foreign News Editor at Daily Milliyet in Istanbul, Turkey)

At the eve of the Istanbul Mayor Elections we requested Gokce Kaya for an interview which she kindly agreed.  Here are the questions we asked her:

What are your thoughts on the second run of the Istanbul mayoral elections?

Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) canceled the first Istanbul mayoral elections by AKP’s demand. And the party believed that some of the ballots are written wrongly from AKP’s candidate Binali Yıldırım to CHP’s candidate Ekrem Imamoglu. As we saw from the first results of the second mayor elections, there was no mistake on the first elections. AKP made this huge difference by its own demand and probably now they see that was a wrong move.

Why Binali Yildirim lost the elections?

The population of İstanbul is almost 16 million and most of the youth population didn’t see any other administration than AKP before. Binali Yıldırım is someone experienced in politics with his former works but Istanbul mayor election was his first “election” in fact. It seems like people like Yıldırım but didn’t want to see him as Istanbul Mayor and wanted to change the ruling party in Istanbul after 25 years.

What you think about the winning candidate and why he won and What factors contributed his winning?

Ekrem İmamoğlu is a new and fresh face for all Turkey but not all parts of Istanbul. He was the Mayor of Beylikdüzü, one of the districts in Istanbul but only those people who live there was knowing him. With this re-do election, especially President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed Imamoglu many times and create a huge image out of someone barely known by the public. Also, many AKP members accused Imamoglu with backing from terrorist organizations such as PKK and FETO. But clearly, this hate propaganda doesn’t work with Turkish citizens anymore. During his campaign, Imamoglu always used a connective language unlike AKP and at the end, this results shows us people don’t like hate language anymore.

With this re-do election, especially President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed Imamoglu many times and create a huge image out of someone barely known by the public. Also, many AKP members accused Imamoglu with backing from terrorist organizations such as PKK and FETO. But clearly, this hate propaganda doesn’t work with Turkish citizens anymore. During his campaign, Imamoglu always used a connective language unlike AKP and at the end, this results shows us people don’t like hate language anymore.

What parties were supporting him and why?

Before elections, AKP and nationalist MHP made an alliance. On the other hand, oppositions, another nationalist party IYI Party and CHP and conservative Saadet Party and Democrat Party made consideration too. HDP (The People’s Democratic Party) which supporters are mostly Kurdish people, was not included any of those alliance. But Istanbul is a multicultural city and has concrete Kurdish origin citizens. So their vote was so important for both sides and each candidate called those citizens for asking their support. Before election day, ex HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş -who is in jail now-, tweeted their support to Imamoglu, contrary PKK terrorist organization leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Ocalan also wrote a letter to Kurdish people that they should be objective on their preference. And that was the breaking point of the Istanbul mayor elections. Even most Kurdish people don’t like CHP because of the past situations, it was obvious they are enough from AKP ruling in Istanbul.

How it will impact on national politics?

As I said before, Erdogan made a new charismatic leader image from unknown Imamoglu and most of CHP supporters wants to see Imamoglu as next president of Turkey now. There is no snap elections seems on the list but, if AKP and CHP don’t work together on Istanbul situations, Imamoglu’s politic approach will win also future results of Turkish national politics.

(Gokce Kaya is Foreign News Editor at Milliyet Daily in Istanbul, Turkey. She is Former BBC Persian and BBC World contributor)

SHARE