Elections in Turkey are free and Democratic… as long as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party wins them. If an important race, such as the one for mayor of the nation’s largest city of Istanbul, goes to the opposition, then Turkey will void the elections by citing irregularities and schedule new elections.
One guess which party is going to win the redo.
Ekrem Imamoglu won the mayor’s race on March 31. His Republican People’s Party (CHP) is the main competitor to Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has held Istanbul’s mayorship since Erdoğan himself won in 1994.
The President isn’t ready to let the quarter-century control over the economic heart of his nation fall to the opposition party’s hands.
Using the election board that his AKP party dominates, Turkey's President Erdogan cancels Istanbul’s mayoral election after opposition won for the first time in 25 years.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 6, 2019
Turkey has been growing as a problem for the United States. While Erdoğan’s direct relationship with President Trump seems to be healthy, there are growing concerns over their efforts to establish themselves as the dominate force in the Middle East. Their dealings with Russia and China have been concerning and their willingness to oppose NATO policies on the region has been a stark contrast to the nation that first joined the alliance in 1952.
This latest move highlights the growing divide between our two nations. More importantly, it demonstrates the direction that Turkey is heading. Compared to the thriving democracy they were trying to become, they’ve been devolving into a dictatorship for the last decade.
It’s time for America and NATO to rethink our relationship with Turkey. They continue to demonstrate a clear aversion to the guiding principles of western society, including fair elections and proper transfer of power.