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Local elections in Turkey

30.03.2024 | 08:34 |
 Local elections in Turkey

Fair, transparent and regular elections are the most fundamental element of modern democracies, the basic requirement of which is that leaders derive their power from voters. These powers are renewed through regular elections, when the people, as the true source of power, vote for the policies and actions of a particular leader, evaluating their work in a positive or negative way.

Since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1946, Turkey has been one of the countries that has held regular, fair and transparent elections. Elections in Turkey are supervised by independent judges through authoritative institutions such as the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK). Thus, Turkey has a strong political culture in terms of ensuring election security and citizens' trust in the ballot box.

The manifestation of trust in elections and the ballot box in Turkey can be seen in the electoral participation rates. In terms of electoral participation, Turkey became the third country with the highest participation rate among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries following the presidential and parliamentary elections held on May 14, 2023. According to Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), the participation rate in the May 14 elections was 88.92 percent, and in the May 28 elections, the second round of the presidential election, the rate was 85.72 percent. According to the OECD and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Turkey's participation rate in the May 14 domestic elections has surpassed many Western OECD members such as the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Another striking aspect of these data is that Turkey's electoral participation rate is even higher than countries such as Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway, where electoral participation is around 80 percent.

Local elections will be held in Turkey on Sunday, March 31. The general local elections, which will highlight Turkey's commitment to democratic values and its innovative vision for local government, are of great significance on the national and international stage. At the same time, safe and fair campaigning during this electoral process is a sign of Turkey's democratic maturity as one of the leading countries in the region in the importance attached to local government.

I would like to point out that we attach great importance to ensuring that local authorities, who are the primary recipients of meeting the needs and requirements of the population, have a vision and perspective appropriate to the conditions of the era. The unavoidable fact is that this process plays an effective role in strengthening the democratic participation of the people and their links with local government.

The innovative approach to municipalism that we have been pursuing for many years is different in that it aims to improve the quality of life of the population, transparency, accountability in all circumstances and, most importantly, to create citizen-centric administrations along with technology and sustainable development projects. Under the leadership of our President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who took on the task of governing the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the 1994 local elections, as the first step and concrete example of this vision, Turkey then took important steps to improve the quality of life of the people in the field of municipal government. Maintaining the policies and service vision set forth by our President 30 years ago is a fundamental policy benefit for our municipalities. For this reason, we believe that maintaining a similar vision and approach to service in the upcoming local elections will further strengthen our democratic values and social integrity on the national and international stage.

We view the local elections on March 31, 2024 as an important milestone in Turkey's democratic path. We believe that these elections are also another step in strengthening Turkey's vision as a regional leader and are widely recognized as an important event that enhances the democratic maturity and social participation of our country. Moreover, like all previous elections, this election will allow the Turkish people to participate more effectively in the democratic process and thereby help strengthen our democracy.

Another important aspect of the March 31st elections is that new elections will not take place for 4 years after this election. During these 4 years, Turkey will continue to implement the development initiatives launched under the leadership of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan without slowing down. The services provided in recent years in all areas - from communications to diplomacy, from economic development to infrastructure investment - will be continued. Moreover, the goal of entering the “Turkish Century” (Türkiye Yüzyılı) with a new civil constitution will be the most important ideal and agenda for the next 4 years.

As part of this vision, Turkey will strive to build a "Turkish Century" by raising democratic standards, increasing income and wealth, and establishing itself as a regional and global player. Our priorities during this period will continue to be to ensure that the Turkish century becomes the century of the Turks by expanding regional cooperation and partnerships in the Turkic world. Our most fundamental political motto is to make the Organization of Turkiс States more effective and efficient in finding permanent solutions to the problems of the Turkic world.

With the elections on March 31, Turkey will not only add new successful elections to its democratic culture, but will also prepare all its provinces, especially cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, for the Turkish century. National development, revitalization and construction of cities affected by the February 6 earthquake, as well as transforming cities with a high risk of earthquakes such as Istanbul into resilient cities will be our most important vision after the elections.

From now on, as until now, Turkey will conduct elections within the framework of democratic procedures, its government and opposition will respect the results of the vote, and, most importantly, it will continue to build the “Turkish Century” as a stabilizing force in the international arena. Thus, it can be said that the local government elections on March 31st are elections that aim to influence the future decades of Turkey in terms of its internal and external dynamics.

Head of the Communications Department Turkish Presidential Administration Fahrettin Altun


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