AKP youth branch lugs students to Erdoğan’s rally during school hours

Various student groups were seen among the audience during school hours at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rally in the Marmara province of Kocaeli with the local elections two days ahead. Turnout at the rally was lower than expected, despite the party organization’s efforts to fill up the area.

Sebahattin Aydın / Gazete Duvar

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 28 organized the last rally for the upcoming local elections in the Marmara province of Kocaeli. Multiple high schooler groups attended the rally that was during school hours. 

Preparations began one week before the rally in the Kocaeli Convention Center Rally Area, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s local branches adorned the main roads leading to the rally area with party banners. 

The attendees were let into the area after a thorough two security checks. 

High school students attend President Erdoğan's rally during school hours.

The Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality run by the AKP waived the toll for the tram line leading to the rally area, and the party organization carried attendees with buses to promote attendance. 

Municipality workers were also in attendance during the rally, along with the students. 

Some of the students stated that the AKP Youth Branch brought them to the rally. The students were given flags and banners ahead of the rally and threw the Muslim Brotherhood’s Rabia (four fingers) and the nationalist Grey Wolf gestures. 

During the rally, Erdoğan said he expected the province to vote for the AKP candidates in even higher amounts than they did during the general elections of 2023. 

“We achieved 54 percent during the parliamentary elections, and 54,3 percent during the presidential elections. Are we ready to go beyond these rates?” 

Erdoğan concluded the rally after posing for pictures with the Metropolitan and 12 district mayoral candidates of the party. 

In the local elections of 2019, the AKP won the metropolitan municipality with 55.5 percent of the votes. The former ally of the opposition, nationalist İYİ (Good) Party came second with 32.6 percent. 

Currently, AKP mayors run 11 of the 12 districts of the province. 

For the upcoming local elections of March 31, a whopping 27 candidates are running for the metropolitan mayorship. 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) does not have a candidate for the Gebze district municipality, in favor of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) chair Erkan Baş’s candidacy. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)