Turkey’s first astronaut campaigns for ruling AKP in run-up to local elections

Turkey's first astronaut Alper Gezeravcı has been campaigning for the ruling AKP in the run-up to the local elections two months after he visited the International Space Station. He has been attending the AKP events named "Youth Meetings" at universities with Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır.

Turkey's first astronaut Alper Gezeravcı alongside with Ege University President Necdet Budak, and Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır

Duvar English

Alper Gezeravcı, Turkey’s first astronaut who visited the International Space Station two months ago, has been attending the “Youth Meetings” organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the run-up to the local elections.

Gezeravcı arrived at the International Space Station with a mission from Texas startup Axiom Space which charges its customers at least $55 million for each astronaut seat.

He has been attending the meetings at the universities with Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır, while the minister campaigns for the AKP. Turkey will hold local elections on March 31.

The meetings saw the attendance of different ministers, provincial governors, university presidents, and mayors. 

He also attended an event at İzmir’s Ege University alongside Hamza Dağ, the AKP’s İzmir mayoral candidate.

He visited Kırıkkale, Erzurum, Ankara, Kayseri, Kahramanmaraş, Mersin, İzmir, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, İstanbul, Edirne, Düzce, Bolu, Antalya, Gaziantep, Konya, Çankırı and Samsun provinces for “Youth Meetings,” the daily Sözcü reported on March 28.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Spokesperson Deniz Yücel criticized the move, and said “Mobilizing ministers and public resources for local elections was not enough for the AKP. Alper Gezeravcı, our first astronaut who went to space with our taxes, has also joined the AKP's propaganda line. However, these efforts will not yield results, they will be defeated on March 31st.”