Image by Emreculha, via Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 06.03.2018
The recent forced resignation of six AKP mayors, highlights how municipal governments are being increasingly pressured to align their decision-making with Ankara. Although during its initial years in government the AKP implemented laws that empowered local governance and aligned Turkey with European democratic standards; since 2012, a new law altered this trajectory. As a result, mayors have seen their influence increased, but only where they allow the central government to intercede in municipal decision-making.
President Erdoğan is the first Turkish president who has successfully forced the resignation of mayors despite the absence of legal mechanisms to do so. While informally reducing the political autonomy of municipal governments, Erdoğan is making sure that mayors are more accountable to him and follow his political agenda.
- The dismissal of six Turkish mayors has demonstrated that the country’s municipalities are increasingly becoming forced to follow the policy directives of Ankara; thereby drastically reducing their political autonomy.
- The Turkish President is willing to keep in check all AKP mayors, making sure that they follow his political agenda, and that they remain loyal to the AKP. In part, this is arguably based on past trends that commonly saw mayors change political parties to secure their own futures.