06/24/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – President Erdogan’s AK Party has once again lost Istanbul in the re-run of the mayoral election, signifying an end to the 25-year rule Erdogan’s party has maintained over the city. His party has now lost control over Turkey’s three major cities: Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
The campaign up to the election re-run was filled with AKP generated hate speech towards religious and ethnic minorities. The AKP attempted to paint the opposition candidate as a foreign Christian, and thus underserving of the mayoral position. The opposition candidate, however, is neither foreign nor Christian and he had made many speeches which sought to unify Turks regardless of differences. He would win the re-run by an even greater margin than the original victory in March.
The nature of the two campaigns showed significant divergence of strategies in regards to how one speaks of religious and ethnic minorities. It is a significant blow for President Erdogan, whose rule has been characterized by policies which encourage hate speech and aggression towards minorities. How he will respond now that he has lost such a key election remains open to question.
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