AKP Istanbul mayoral candidate outspends CHP rival threefold on social media ads

AKP's Istanbul mayoral candidate Kurum has allocated three times more budget ($171,000) for social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram compared to CHP candidate İmamoğlu in the last month leading up to the local elections.

Duvar English

From Jan. 24, 2024, to Feb. 22, 2024, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has significantly outpaced other parties in terms of Facebook and Instagram advertisements while ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Murat Kurum became the candidate who spent the most money.

As the local elections on March 31 are just a short time away, the advertising expenditures of candidates and parties have been also increasing.

The Observatory (Gözlemevi in Turkish) -an NGO analyzing the dynamics between technology, society, and authorities- analyzed the advertising expenditures of political parties in the last 30 days based on the periodically published data of American multinational technology conglomerate Meta, that owns Facebook and Instagram.

CHP spent the highest amount for the ads with 15 million Turkish liras ($467,000) in one month, while AKP spent 2.13 million liras ($66,000) in the second place. 

Right-wing opposition DEVA Party spent 1.12 million liras ($35,000), minor nationalist opposition Independent Turkey Party (BTP) 1.08 million liras ($34,000), Islamist opposition Felicity Party spent 443,000 liras ($14,000).

Among the mayoral candidates, AKP Istanbul candidate Kurum spent 5.48 million liras ($171,000) whilw CHP Istanbul candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu spent 1.62 million liras ($50,000) on social media advertising.

AKP Antalya mayoral candidate Hakan Tütüncü was the second highest spender on Facebook and Instagram ads with 2.4 million liras ($75,000), while AKP İzmir candidate Hamza Dağ was the fourth highest spender with 1.4 million liras ($44,000).

The research was limited to Meta because the company has been transparent about political advertisements and publishes advertisement information in its ads library. Although X, previously known as Twitter, is also widely used in Turkey, its ad data is not publicly available.

Turkey has approximately 33 million Facebook users and nearly 50 million Instagram users.