Turkey’s opposition DEM Party announces manifesto for Istanbul municipal election

Turkey’s opposition DEM Party has announced its manifesto for the Istanbul municipal election, for which it named Meral Danış Beştaş and Murat Çepni as co-candidates. Beştaş vowed to “reshape Istanbul through the woman perspective” and make the megacity a “city of women.”

Duvar English

The opposition Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, Turkey’s third largest party, on March 1 announced its local election manifesto for Istanbul. The party previously named Meral Danış Beştaş and Murat Çepni as its Istanbul co-mayoral candidates after failing to agree with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to form an alliance.

In a press release held at the Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center in Istanbul’s Şişli district, co-mayoral candidates Beştaş and Çepni read the manifesto, the online news outlet T24 reported.

Beştaş said they would make the megacity a “city of women” and reshape it “through the woman perspective. “We will take as a basis an understanding where women are a part of urban planning, benefit equally from urban services, social policies are accessible to women from all walks of life, and we will strengthen women's solidarity.”

According to the manifesto, the party vowed to carry out the necessary transformation in the megacity for the expected major earthquake without “disrupting the fabric of the neighborhood” and “harming social solidarity networks.”

“We will realize a transformation that targets accessible, safe, and earthquake-resilient housing, not expensive housing,” the party added.

The manifesto also emphasized the mother tongue issue and said, “We will open kindergartens serving in Kurdish and other requested languages.” 

“We will organize a festival of people(s) every year in Istanbul. Every people, every faith will make Istanbul's music even more beautiful with its rhythm,” it added.

The party also noted that they would make arrangements to ensure that stray animals would be regarded as natural components of the city,” adding they would create a “climate-friendly Istanbul.”

“We will support and expand village, neighborhood and city assemblies, urban forums, women's and youth assemblies to ensure the participation of the people in every stage of the city's governance processes,” it added.

Moreover, the party vowed more emphasis on and encouragement of public transportation and to activate subway services 24 hours a day.

The party’s predecessor, the HDP, together with the opposition İYİ (Good) Party, refrained from nominating mayoral candidates in the 2019 local election for Istanbul. This decision paved the way for the CHP victory, ending a 25-year AKP legacy in the Municipality.

This time, the party did not nominate candidates for some local municipalities in Istanbul, saying they had reached “an urban consensus.” Although the parties did not officially announce any such alliance, critics believed the decision was the result of a tacit agreement with CHP, as the municipalities were all swing districts where the CHP and ruling AKP went head to head.