Erdoğan will not hold rallies for Istanbul rerun campaign

Erdoğan will not hold rallies for Istanbul rerun campaign
Date: 11.6.2019 14:00

Turkey’s ruling AKP at the moment does not plan to put President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on stage via mass rallies for Istanbul rerun on June 23, columnist Mehmet Acet said in pro-government Yeni Şafak daily on Monday.

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After the March 31 local elections, the main opposition candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, was declared as the mayor of Istanbul by a narrow margin, dealing a major blow to Erdoğan’s AKP, which lost control of Turkey's financial powerhouse Istanbul for the first time in 25 years.
But the Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) annulled the Istanbul vote, after the AKP appealed the results citing electoral irregularities, and scheduled a rerun on June 23.
Ahead of March 31 polls, Erdoğan hold election campaigns across Turkey, sidelining his party’s mayoral candidates. After the YSK’s decision, several reports in Turkish media said Turkey’s president would this time speak at mass rallies to be organised in Istanbul’s 39 districts.
But according to Acet, this idea has been shelved at the moment due to a change in election strategy.
Turkey’s ruling party instead will focus more on its mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım, as they think the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is using the election campaign to target Erdoğan, according to Acet.
“The CHP is trying to turn Istanbul elections into a race with our president. Their strategy aims making Tayyip Erdoğan lose. We will not allow that,” Acet quoted an unnamed AKP official as saying. 
The second tactic of the AKP, according to Acet, is to emphasise that İmamoğlu is the CHP’s candidate.
According to political analysts in Turkey, due to deep polarisation in the country, the voters tend to avoid voting for opposition parties, even if they are dissatisfied with the ruling party’s policies. This is particularly the case for CHP, which has been presented by Erdoğan to AKP voters for years as the guard of the old Turkey that discriminated people by its elitism.
İmamoğlu in his campaign strategy tries to overcome this disadvantage by disguising the fact that he is Turkey’s secularist party’s candidate, according to Acet. 
The columnist said that the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had been staying away from the election campaign, while the party’s Istanbul provincial head had told Cumhuriyet newspaper that they had been trying not to scare voters that had been allergic to the CHP.
“We took Ekrem İmamoğlu from the starts and landed him on Earth. We showed everybody that he is a candidate of the CHP,” Acet quoted the same AKP official as saying.


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