Hüseyin Çiçek: Opinion on the election setbacks of the AKP in “The Arab Weekly”

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In the article “After election setbacks, Erdogan faces challenge of economic disrepair”, published April 7, 2019 in “The Arab Weekly”, Political Scientist and EZIRE reasearch assistant Hüseyin Çiçek gives his opinion on the election setbacks of the AKP.

Although Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) remained the biggest political group in Turkey, with more than 44% of the overall vote in the elections March 31, the AKP lost Istanbul, Ankara and several other cities to the opposition. Following these stinging losses, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must repair Turkey’s economy to fight off an emboldened opposition and to prevent fissures in his own party to widen.The results marked a serious setback for Erdogan, who has won many campaigns since the AKP moved into power more than 16 years ago. The AKP’s narrow defeat in Istanbul, where Erdogan started his political career 25 years ago, was a heavy psychological and political blow to the president, who had turned the local elections into a referendum about Turkey’s “survival.”

According to Hüseyin Çiçek, Erdogan made the election, as he did in previous campaigns, about himself. “Political adversaries were demonised and presented as stooges of the ‘West’,” Çiçek said. “It worked only up to a point this time.”