'Wind of change' in Turkish political parties

Türkiye’s political parties are going through a process of change. The two most recent elections hammered home the point that change needs to happen for political parties to address society’s demands. Change is the never-changing rule of life. The most important question relates to where, to what extent and with which stakeholders change should take place. Again, the debate over détente, normalization and constitutional reform highlights how and under which conditions political parties will undergo change. Since the "new constitution" debate will bring up various issues like identity, the political system and national security, political parties must not fail to revisit society’s everyday problems and long-standing issues.

Wind of change' in Turkish political parties
Role reversal Changing dynamics of CHP and Good Party

Role reversal: Changing dynamics of CHP and Good Party

A series of meetings between the leaders of Türkiye’s major political parties steered the national conversation in recent weeks, creating an opportunity to breathe new life into Turkish politics. Such reactivation would entail a heated debate on a broad range of issues related to Türkiye’s present condition and future.


Most of them are worried that CHP, which recently replaced its leader, could experience internal turmoil. Others disagree with the current Chairperson's decision to abandon polarization and harsh statements, fearing that the opposition bloc, which has been feeding off anti-Erdoğanism, will weaken. The former CHP Chairperson's remarks –“One does not negotiate with the Palace but merely fights it”– was a case in point.

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.”

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.

The Good Party (IP) held an emergency congress on Sunday to replace its chairperson, Meral Akşener, with Müsavat Dervişoğlu.

Özel and Kılıçdaroğlu's 'political' showdown

The Republican People's Party's (CHP) current and previous leaders are fighting over the kind of politics that the movement should embrace in the future.

Özel and Kılıçdaroğlu's 'political' showdown
How long will CHP Chair Özgür Özel's new politics last

How long will CHP Chair Özgür Özel's new politics last?

Since taking over as chairperson of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Özgür Özel has notably distanced himself from his "polemicist" style of his tenure as minority whip. Many wonder why the new Republican leader, who adopted this approach prior to the March 31 municipal elections and remained committed to it thereafter, is doing what he is doing and how long he intends to do it.


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.

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.

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.

It is still unclear to what extent the local elections to be held on Sunday will affect Turkish politics. In terms of macro-political dynamics, the main patterns of politics in Türkiye are not expected to change. After the local elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will have more than four years ahead of him.

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.

The municipal election campaign of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been riddled with crises, and I am not talking about their various statements that have become the subject of controversy. For example, this is not about the CHP chairperson’s remarks about Turkish citizens who paid for their exemption from military service or Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu’s comments on housewives.

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.

Türkiye’s municipal election remains approximately one month away, but the political parties have been running low-intensity campaigns. In other words, we have not yet witnessed strongly worded statements, serious alienation or significant polarization – an absence of the "survival" discourse.

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.