Gov't ally far-right YRP to enter mayoral race in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir

Turkish government’s far-right ally New Welfare Party (YRP) declared it would field its candidates for the mayoral race in the three metropolises Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. Leader Fatih Erbakan said the party listened to its constituents, who did not want an alliance.  

Duvar English

Turkish government’s far-right Islamist ally New Welfare Party (YRP) announced on Feb. 3 that it would enter the mayoral race in Turkey’s metropolis Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir provinces in the local elections of March 31. 

The party decided against an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as it listened to its constituents, said party leader Fatih Erbakan. The party will announce its candidates on February 10th.    

Erbakan also expressed disappointment in their alliance with AKP following the general elections, as their agreement was "disregarded." The government did not take adequate measures regarding Gaza, he said.  

The leader emphasized the party’s popularity following the general elections. The party has over 400.000 members, making it the fifth party in Turkey with the most members. 

Erbakan presented reasons why the party decided against an alliance with the AKP. First were their constituents’ and local branches’ demands, “On May 14, our people wanted us to compromise and enter into the alliance, but not today,” Erbakan stated. Additionally, 95 percent of the party’s local branches did not support an alliance for the local elections. 

Furthermore, the party did not regard the local elections as a matter of survival which was the case for the general elections. “The opposition block is not entering these elections with an alliance, so we do not see it as necessary,” reasoned the party leader.   

Finally, YRP was dissatisfied with the propositions the ruling AKP brought during negotiations. “We entered into these talks with good intentions, but could not see any fair requests,” said Erbakan. He continued, “If we want to rid Ankara and İstanbul of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) mentality, AKP should have acted accordingly.”

The YRP entered the general elections as part of the People’s (Cumhur) Alliance with the ruling AKP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and ultranationalist Great Unity Party (BBP). The alliance supported the presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Islamist YRP ran a misogynistic and anti-LGBTI+ campaign. The party received 2.8 percent of the votes and entered Parliament with five deputies.