Erdoğan attributes local election defeat to AKP supporters’ abstention

Turkish President Erdoğan has attributed his party’s local election defeat to AKP supporters’ abstention from voting as the turnout was lower than usual with 78.11%. The AKP has become a second party for the first time in an election in its history, following the CHP.

Photo: AKP

Duvar English

Turkish President, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 17 commented on the local election defeat of his party.

The AKP has become a second party for the first time in an election in its 23-year history, following the Republican People’s Party (CHP) which received 37.77% of the votes whereas the former remained at 35.49% in the March 31 local elections.

Speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of the AKP, Erdoğan said the local elections were carried out peacefully and the democratic maturity “displayed by our nation is admirable.”

“The first striking result of these elections is the low level of participation. We are focusing sensitively on the reasons for this. The will of 16 million voters was not reflected in the ballot box,” Erdoğan said.

Supreme Election Council (YSK) President Ahmet Yener announced the turnout rate as 78.11%, lower than usual. 84.67% of the eligible voters turned out in the 2019 local elections, whereas this figure was 87.04% in the 2023 general and presidential elections.

“The low turnout rate has also negatively affected our party's votes. We see that people who support our party refrained from going to the polls and we are analyzing the reasons,” Erdoğan said, attributing the defeat to AKP supporters’ abstention from voting.

Erdoğan argued that the election resulted in the People’s Alliance’s victory with 40.5% of the votes, saying more than half of Turkey's 1,400 municipalities, 54.3%, will be governed by the People's Alliance.

Erdoğan also criticized the opposition, saying some parties thought “they will govern the country as if it is a general election. Some people are trying to create a dual structure in Turkey as 'local power' and 'central power'.”

“In our 81 provinces, there is only one government, and that is the President and his cabinet, who were given the task of governing the country by the nation in the May 14-28 elections. Our cabinet, which held its 16th meeting yesterday, is also on duty. We do not think it is right to keep politics and the country's agenda busy with hollow debates,” Erdoğan added.

He also said it was not befitting for them “to twist around the numbers like the opposition. Before anyone else, we need to read the messages of the people at the ballot box correctly and evaluate them objectively in all their dimensions.”

“Let everyone see and know that nothing is over until we say it is over. We are the most dynamic party in this country, our excitement is as fresh as the first day,” Erdoğan noted in a move to excite the party organizations and AKP supporters following the local election blow.

“In the next 4 years, when there are no more elections, we will hopefully triumph in our fight against inflation. We have done it in the past and we will do it again,” he also added.

Previously on April 16, Erdoğan said he appreciated “the responsible and dignified attitude of some of the opposition parties after the elections,” without explicitly giving names after the cabinet meeting.

He also said he was open to meet with CHP leader Özgür Özel as they have many topics to cover.