Why Turkey’s AKP is throwing its weight into local election campaign

Source:Middle East Eye Date:07Jan2019

AKP, which won 42 percent in the June general elections, is somewhat on the defensive. It would like to have a 50 percent share of the votes – something it achieved in Turkey’s presidential elections – and seems to regard a support level of less than 40 as an embarrassment that could pave the way for a period of renewed weak coalition governments, though it is very hard to imagine Turkey’s current opposition parties taking power and using it effectively.

The problem for the AKP is that the local elections are happening at a bad time. Turkish incomes are being squeezed as a result of the country’s economic turbulence last summer, when the lira dropped badly against other currencies and interest rates were hiked to 24 percent. 2019 looks more or less like a “no-growth” year for Turkey, with GDP expanding by less than one percent or even contracting, badly down from 2017, when it rose by 7.4 percent.