Muhktar wins seventh term in village with 18 voters in Turkey’s local elections amid lack of competition

Ahmet Coşar has been at the helm of Asmacık village in Turkey’s Sandıklı district for 30 years. However, after securing his seventh and last term, he urges younger candidates to take over.

Duvar English

Ahmet Coşar secured his seventh term as Mukhtar (village head) of the rural Asmacık village in Afyon’s Sandıklı district during Turkey’s local elections held on March 31, according to reporting by Demirören News Agency.

The 67-year-old Coşar has overseen the historical village, comprising seven households and 18 eligible voters, for the past 30 years and will add another five years to his tenure, which will be his last.

“My sixth term is over. This is my last term. I won’t run from now on. I’ll leave it to young people. We’re old,” Çosar said, adding that a friend in Sandıklı planned to run but ultimately withdrew.

Coşar first assumed office in 1994 after garnering the support of 60 voters and has maintained an unbroken tenure as Mukhtar. During the current election, the incumbent ran unopposed. However, he secured only 13 votes out of the 17 cast.

Coşar’s son, Ferudun Coşar, expressed his aspiration to succeed his father in future elections. “If my father cannot do it then I become mukhtar. We need a playground, I will have it built,” Ferudun Coşar said.

In Turkey’s local administrative setup, mukhtars serve as intermediaries between local communities, municipal authorities, and other public bodies.

Mukhtars are elected every five years via local elections, with political parties prohibited from nominating candidates.

In the 2019 local elections, over 50,000 mukhtars were elected countrywide, with only 1,122 being women.

(English version by Wouter Massink)