What does 'political détente' bring to Turkish politics?

Speaking to reporters after last week’s Friday prayer, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan commented on his meeting with Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairperson Özgür Özel, adding that he intended to visit the CHP headquarters soon: “This is what Türkiye and Turkish politics need. I wish to start a process of political softening in Türkiye by making that visit happen at the earliest convenience. We will take that step.”

What does 'political d tente' bring to Turkish politics
Erdoğan-Özel meeting heralds new political phase in Türkiye

Erdoğan-Özel meeting heralds new political phase in Türkiye

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairperson Özgür Özel on Thursday. The meeting, which lasted just over 1.5 hours, marked the beginning of a new political process in Türkiye. The Republicans reportedly viewed the meeting as “positive,” and the Turkish media reported that Erdoğan would visit the CHP headquarters in the future.


As Türkiye’s political parties and leaders analyze the municipal election results, it remains unclear what Turkish politics will look like in this new period. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid due respect to the people’s choice on election night, making an inclusive statement that encouraged the opposition to speak responsibly.

All political parties need to interpret the outcome of the March 31 municipal elections accurately.

The framework for the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) “bold self-criticism” regarding the municipal election has become clear. Describing March 31 as a turning point, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly spoke at the party’s Central Executive Committee (MYK) meeting on Tuesday. At that meeting, he stressed that a significant number of voters, who voted for the AK Party in May 2023, did not participate in Sunday’s election.

On March 31, the local elections profoundly transformed the landscape of Turkish politics. For the first time since its ascendancy in 2002, the Justice and Development (AK Party) concluded the elections as the runner-up, marking a significant shift in the nation’s political dynamics.

Türkiye’s local vote: Turning point for AK Party, milestone for CHP

Sunday's municipal elections in Türkiye highlighted the country's democratic maturity. Determining the outcome of political competition at the ballot box was yet another manifestation of democratic consolidation in the country. The Republican People's Party (CHP) ranked first in the election, where 78.55 of voters participated, receiving 37.76% and winning 14 metropolitan municipalities and 21 provinces.

Türkiye s local vote Turning point for AK Party milestone
Busy post-election agenda awaits Türkiye after local vote

Busy post-election agenda awaits Türkiye after local vote

The Turkish people elected their mayors and mukhtars on Sunday. In a country where no election is unimportant, we find ourselves surrounded by a public debate over the politics of this new era. In other words, the post-election period will keep us occupied.


Ahead of this weekend’s municipal elections, the People’s Alliance, and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) alike, make the case that there are actually two candidates in each district. The argument that voters should opt for their second favorite if their own party cannot win so that their least favorite candidate does not end up in office is intended to create a “second round” effect.

With the municipal election just three weeks away, the relationship between the People’s Alliance and the New Welfare Party ("Yeniden Refah" in Turkish - YRP) becomes more apparent. The most significant development of the current election cycle was the opposition parties, which formed an alliance with the main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), in May 2023 and decided to field their own candidates.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s municipal election campaign rests on two pillars. The first relates to the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) ongoing success and vision for the future – which its election manifesto highlighted with reference to resilient cities and public services and works. The movement showcased its ability by delivering homes to the survivors of the Feb. 6, 2023 earthquakes earlier this week. That Erdoğan’s administration built 75,000 homes by the disaster’s anniversary and pledged to increase that number to 200,000 by the end of 2024 sent a clear message to the electorate: “The AK Party is great at solving problems, implementing projects and delivering services. No other party can compete with it in those fields.”

Following in the Good Party’s (IP) footsteps, the New Welfare Party (YRP) and the pro-PKK Green Left Party (YSP), informally known as the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party), decided to field their own candidates, as opposed to joining an alliance, for the upcoming municipal election – an emerging trend that creates a political landscape where the "third-way" debate is expected to gain prominence anew.

Local elections are scheduled to be held in Türkiye on March 31. Although local elections may not significantly shape the immediate future of the country, they hold the potential to trigger numerous political dynamics.

With the 2024 municipal elections just 53 days away, the People’s Alliance has momentum, while the opposition parties have failed to form alliances. The main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), built electoral alliances in 2019 and 2023. This time around, it has no choice but to collaborate with the pro-PKK Green Left Party (YSP), informally known as the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party), which succeeded the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in some provinces. It is no secret that the potential partnership between the CHP and YSP in Istanbul would be facilitated by Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu – which would open him up to criticism from the People’s Alliance, as well as the Good Party (IP). Meanwhile, Başak Demirtaş’s seeming interest in running for mayor suggests that the CHP might have to campaign alone in Istanbul. She is, of course, the wife of jailed ex-HDP Chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş. Such a development would make “grassroots as opposed to intraparty cooperation” the only option on the table, but the main opposition party has been handling the situation in a very fragmented and counterproductive manner.

With the opposition trying to cope with the controversy over mayoral nominations, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) unveiled its 2024 municipal election manifesto on Tuesday.

The new year got off to an extremely busy start in Türkiye.

Twelve Turkish soldiers lost their lives earlier this week in an attack by the terrorist organization PKK in northern Iraq. I offer my condolences to their families and the nation.

The Turkish media reported two major developments with the potential to cause a stir in domestic politics. First, Sabah reported that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was going to host a pro-Palestinian event, the “Great Gathering for Palestine,” outside its provincial headquarters in Istanbul and that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and fellow leaders of the People’s Alliance would attend it. Secondly, the Directorate of Communications announced that President Erdoğan had signed Sweden’s NATO accession protocol and sent it to the Turkish Parliament.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s address to Parliament’s opening session focused on his call for a new constitution. Stressing that Türkiye should draft a civilian constitution for the first time since the republic’s early years, the Turkish leader made the case that the 1982 Constitution, which was drafted by the junta that carried out the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, could not address the country’s needs. He thus urged everyone to answer his call for a new constitution “with a constructive approach.”

Türkiye has been facing many vital challenges since the end of the Cold War, especially in the last decade. Türkiye tried to overcome these challenges together with its allies. There was a high level of cooperation between Ankara and its Western allies during the first decade of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments.

Established to tackle the political and economic crises of the 1990s, the AK Party encountered many challenges. It opted for what was possible and rational as opposed to ideology to skillfully analyze the future of world politics.