The Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), is doing everything to limit the power of the mayors of large cities, such as Ankara and Istanbul, where the candidates of the CHP opposition party won.

Thanks to some ad hoc decrees, their powers have been reduced. For example, last May, the Trade Ministry decided that mayors will no longer be responsible for appointments in municipal trading companies, giving the power to municipal assemblies. In the case of Ankara and Istanbul, the AKP still controls such assemblies.

In Ankara, the CHP mayor, Mansur Yavaş, had made appointments to the Bread Council (to control the food prices), but they were cancelled by the new decree.

Turkish newspapers, like Cumhuriyet, have reported that the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning granted municipal assemblies responsibility for the creation, expansion, debt and closure of municipal companies, this despite the fact that Article 37 of Law 5393 on Municipalities clearly states that “The mayor shall be the head of the municipal administration and represent its legal personality.”

The major defeat suffered by Erdogan’s party after 25 years of continuous victories, seems to have pushed the AKP to hold onto to its economic power, even if it has lost political power. However, in public at least, Erdogan (pictured right) seems to respect Turkish democracy.

At a party meeting, the president said, commenting his party’s second defeat in Istanbul by Ekrem İmamoğlu (pictured left), “We submit to the decision of the people of Istanbul. The people should never be cheated.”

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