Postcards from Turkey’s election


Two articles, one from the Independent, the other from the Atlantic explain the surreal campaign and rising poverty in Turkey at the eve of a municipal election the AKP-MHP alliance turned into a “matter of survival for the nation”.


Grocery Stores Are at the Front Line of Turkey’s Latest Political Battle


Every morning, men and women queue up outside a cavernous white tent on Taksim Square, here in central Istanbul, well before the first government trucks arrive carrying tomatoes, peppers, and other supplies. When they are let in, they calmly stock up on the few kilograms of fruit and vegetables they are allowed.

The scene is becoming a familiar one as Turkey sinks into recession. Dozens of these municipality-run stands, which sell produce at less than half what privately owned stores charge, have popped up across the country. Supermarket chains—accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of “treasonous” profiteering—are meanwhile selling some products below cost, or even pulling expensive vegetables from their shelves to avoid risking public ire.


Cheap vegetables and cries of terror: the high stakes of Turkey’s local elections



Economic discontent is growing. Polls show the AKP party may very well lose control of the municipal government in the capital, Ankara, though its candidate retains an edge in Istanbul. A poll showed the economy is by far voters’ biggest concern, with 63.6% saying their economic situation worsened over the last year. The poll, conducted by the Social Democracy Foundation, said 44 percent of AKP supporters were undecided.

“We can say this election will be one where supporters of the AKP have started intense doubting,” columnist Fatih Polat wrote Wednesday in the leftist newspaper Evrensel. “At least a few people are talking about ‘teaching them a lesson’. We will see how the last 10 days before the election will impact the vote, and how much this doubt will be reflected in ballot boxes on 31 March.”