Inside Story

What shapes Turkey’s municipal elections?

Turks go to the polls on Sunday to choose mayors and local government officials.

Municipal elections are being held in Turkey on Sunday, and the vote could define the future of Turkish politics.
Polls will be open in all 81 provinces, but the real battle is for a city of 16 million people, the only city on two continents – Istanbul.

There is a saying in Turkish politics: Whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey. And that is why this vote is a test for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party. It lost Istanbul to the opposition five years ago.

Money is a major factor. Whoever controls big cities also controls their budgets, development projects – and quite possibly the parties’ longevity.

There’s a lot at stake in this race – high inflation, political divisions and international pressures all play a role.

So, how could the outcome alter the country’s prospects for years to come? And what direction could Turkey take?

Presenter: James Bays


Ahmet Kasim Han – Professor of political science and international relations at Beykoz University

Vehbi Baysan – Assistant professor at Ibn Haldun University

Mehmet Celik – Editorial co-ordinator at Daily Sabah newspaper