Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar
After the humiliating loss of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the first municipal elections of March 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to circumvent the decision in all possible ways, fearing the corruption of the Istanbul municipality during the period of his family’s control.
At the beginning, the Turkish president pushed the Supreme Electoral Commission to declare the results null and void again in the Istanbul municipality after the Republican People’s Party candidate Akram Emamoglu won the AKP candidate Ali Yildirim in an attempt to regain control of the most important municipality in the country which Erdogan called his “great love.”
The Turkish interior minister, Suleiman Suwailo, also banned all winners of the Kurdish municipal elections and the Republican People’s Party from receiving their posts by fabricating charges of belonging to the Fathallah Gulen movement, a Turkish opposition group based in the United States.
All steps by Erdogan failed to prevent the historic loss of his party in the municipal elections. The Turkish people in the Istanbul municipality re-elected the Republican People’s Party candidate Akram Emamoglu again as mayor of the city on Monday 24 June 2019.
However, the Turkish president did not stop at this point. On June 27, 2019, the municipal councils controlled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced the removal of the heads of the two big cities from several powers they had.
In accordance with the new decisions, which many Turkish people doubt in their actual intentions, the powers of the mayor of major cities have been reduced from appointing the heads of municipal businesses, as well as the establishment, closure and expansion of municipal companies, and the collection of their debts.
The new decisions seek to limit the role and powers of the mayors who won the last municipal elections and were opposition parties, although Article 37 of Law 5393 on Municipalities in Turkish Law provides that the mayor is the head of the municipal administration.