No supporters show up for independent mayoral candidate’s rally in eastern Turkey

Aydın Polat, an independent mayoral candidate for Turkey’s eastern province of Dersim held two rallies with no attendees ahead of the local elections of March 31. Polat guesses insufficient advertisement and the cold weather contributed to the lack of turnout.

Duygu Kıt / Gazete Duvar 

An independent mayoral candidate for Turkey’s eastern Dersim province, Aydın Polat, on March 26 held a rally at an empty town square. This was the second rally the candidate held with zero attendants.  

Polat continued with the rally although no one turned up to listen to him. 

Polat complained of people’s disinterest in his campaign. “I invited a bunch of people playing games at the coffee house, but they preferred to continue playing,” he said. 

The candidate thought the lack of announcements before the rally affected the turnout. “Maybe the cold winds here were also effective,” he added. 

The candidate also requested the help of the municipality to advertise the rally, but the vehicle was broken down, and could not be repaired in time for Polat’s rally.  

The decreasing trust in politicians also affected turnout rates, held Polat. “The situation is not much different for the rallies of other candidates,” he suggested and gave the turnout at the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party as an example. 

He said, “The turnout at that rally was also much lower than the expected vote for the candidate,” suggesting that rally attendance did not always correlate with votes received. 

Polat distributes the pamphlets with his campaign promises himself in the town center.

A self-proclaimed lover of Dersim, Polat believed the videos he regularly posted on YouTube promoting Dersim rejuvenated regional tourism. 

The independent candidate complained of the previous mayors and deputies for not providing any services for the province. 

“This city is too tired to be left to the control of elderly and retired candidates, and it is too beautiful and precious to be given up for any ideologies,” he concluded.

20 candidates are up for the Dersim mayor position in the upcoming local elections of March 31. Three of them are independent candidates like Polat.  

Recent polls estimate a DEM Party win for the municipal mayorship in the Alevi and Kurdish-majority province. 

The province is currently run by Mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, the only municipal administrator from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP). 

The party has controversially nominated Maçoğlu for the mayorship in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)