Istanbul is judging Erdogan’s political future, a German publication reports. In an analysis by the correspondent of the German Journalism Network (RND), Gerd Heller, we read: “Although his name is not on any ballot, […] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dominating the election race. For more than 20 years, he has been the man who determines the country’s destiny. And there is a reason why the 70-year-old is making such great efforts: on Sunday, his political future at the top of the state is at stake.”

The current mayor of Constantinople, 52-year-old Ekrem Imamoglou, “is one of the most talented politicians in the country. In recent years he has built a strong network in Istanbul, looks capable and is popular. And if he manages to retain his mayoralty, that could allow him to climb even higher. Because then he could claim the presidency of the CHP and thus go down as the candidate of the largest opposition party in the next presidential election. […] As it stands now, Imamoglu seems like the only opponent who could really threaten Erdogan at the national level.

Murat Kurum, until last year the Minister of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change in Erdogan’s cabinet, aspires to dethrone him. The 47-year-old civil engineer, however, does not particularly stir people up at rallies – something that Erdogan himself undertakes to do,” Heller points out.

During the years of Erdogan’s rule, the Turkish government has been repeatedly accused of targeting political opponents and journalists, violating human rights and generally undermining democratic institutions. However, for Erdogan’s supporters “these are not a problem. According to a poll by the Konda research institute, 54% of Turks aged 18 to 30 consider it “fair” to imprison opposition politicians, such as the former head of the Kurdish HDP party, or political activists, such as Osman Kavala. This also shows how much Erdoğan has managed to manipulate the mentality of the citizens during the last two decades”, comments the German correspondent.

Ahead of the decisive match in Istanbul, “the opinion polls do not give a clear winner. In some, Imamoglu is marginally ahead, and in others, Kouroum. The latter could however benefit from the fact that the opposition is divided. […] After losing last year’s parliamentary and presidential elections, the opposition alliance fell apart. […] And this could help Erdogan recapture Istanbul – and thus consolidate his power even more.”