The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has swept to landslide victories in coastal Aegean and Mediterranean provinces.
The CHP’s candidate for mayor of the Aegean province of İzmir, Mustafa Tunç Soyer, the former mayor of the province’s Seferihisar district, has been elected as the mayor for the metropolitan municipality by garnering over 50 percent of the votes.
The secular-liberal masses of the Aegean province of İzmir have rooted for the CHP, Turkey’s first political party established by modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, for several decades, making it a stronghold of the party.
İzmir’s former mayor, Aziz Kocaoğlu, also a CHP member, won the post with 49.6 percent of the votes in the 2014 local elections and has completed his third term at the post.
The CHP, however, had decided to nominate a different figure, Soyer, for the mayoral post, ending Kocaoğlu’s 15-year helm of the coastal province.
Soyer’s candidacy had been targeted by the People’s Alliance, between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), due to his father’s alleged involvement in grotesque tortures of Turkey’s bloody 1980 military coup.
Eight political parties and four independent candidates ran for İzmir mayor.
The AKP had nominated former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi to run for mayor of İzmir, having received support and endorsement from its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
İYİ (Good) Party, the CHP’s electoral ally, had not presented a candidate for İzmir, endorsing Soyer as part of their Nation Alliance.
As for İzmir’s districts, the CHP won an overwhelming majority in 24 districts, while the AKP won four districts only.
Meanwhile, the CHP also won landslide victories in two other Aegean provinces, Aydın and Muğla.
Aydın’s current first female mayor Özlem Çerçioğlu re-ran as the CHP’s candidate for the second consecutive term and won the mayoral seat by drawing over 50 percent of votes.
In Muğla, the incumbent mayor Osman Gürün, re-nominated by the CHP, has been elected as the mayor of the metropolitan municipality.
Gürün’s journey at the mayoral post began in 1999 when he was elected as the provincial mayor of Muğla and served until 2014.
In the previous local elections in 2014, the provincial municipality of Muğla was declared as a metropolitan municipality and Gürün was elected as the first metropolitan mayor.
Besides the Aegean provinces, the CHP also gained electoral triumphs in the southern provinces of Antalya, Mersin and Hatay, all three which are metropolitan municipalities.
Muhittin Böcek, the CHP’s candidate for Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, won the mayoral seat by defeating the AKP’s candidate, Menderes Türel, also the current mayor of the city, with about three percentage points of difference.
Similarly, Vahap Seçer, the CHP’s candidate for Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, has been elected as mayor of the province.
In the 2014 local elections, MHP’s candidate Burhanettin Kocamaz was elected as Mersin’s mayor. He had resigned from the party in late 2018 and had declared his transfer to İYİ Party.
In Hatay, the CHP has won an overwhelming majority with its candidate Lütfü Savaş, who is the incumbent mayor of the metropolitan municipality, making it his second consecutive term.