President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the local election a matter of “national survival”. His opponents were called terrorists and traitors. His grip on the media resulted in overwhelming positive coverage in the run-up to the election. Yet although his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nationally won just over 51% of the votes on an 84% turnout, the loss of major cities is a moment of truth for Turkey’s authoritarian president. Ankara, the capital was won by the opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP). Istanbul, Erdoğan’s birthplace and former stronghold, is holding a recount demanded by the President. So far the CHP maintains its narrow lead.
Today is municipal election day in Turkey when voters elect local mayors and councillors. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the poll is about the “survival” of the country and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey is in recession, with 20% inflation and the lira which has plunged by a third in value, is causing bankruptcies. The result will be as a referendum on President Erdogan’s record and he knows it. One journalist who will not be covering the elections is NUJ member and Morning Star international editor Steve Sweeney. Last week he flew out to Istanbul, but on arrival at the airport he was detained without explanation, questioned, branded a terrorist and deported. Steve takes up the story: Continue reading NUJ member harassed and detained then deported by Turkish authorities for just doing his job
With democracy teetering on the edge and the country accelerating towards dictatorship under the autocratic rule of President Recep Tayip Erdogan, last Saturday’s 3rd annual Solidarity with the People of Turkey(SPOT) conference in London brought together some 200 people. The purpose was to hear eye witness reports from Turkey and the Kurdish community and to plan future solidarity action aimed at calling to account the Turkish government and to challenge the complicity of European governments in their support for the Erdogan regime.