The mayoral election in Istanbul on 23 June 2019 represents a significant blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) won with almost 55 percent of the vote, bringing an end to the AKP’s dominance of the city, which lasted over 20 years. Despite being a local election, it has been become a rallying point for anti-AKP sentiments and ultimately a damning referendum on the current leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As with all of the elections in the past period in Turkey, the local elections which took place on Sunday 31 March were in reality a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But while Erdogan used to score victory after victory with ease, this time important dents were made in his image of invincibility.

The Turkish economy has entered a state of organic instability. A sharpening political conflict with the US, which has imposed punitive tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports, has caused the Turkish Lira to plummet in value. At its nadir, the currency was worth 40 percent less than in January. The ‘stabilisation’ of the currency that followed merely meant that, for the past week, dollars could be exchanged for 30 percent more Liras than before the crisis began.

It appears that Turkey has started or will imminently start attacking the Kurdish-ruled enclave of Afrin in Northwestern Syria. The preparations for this operation have been ongoing for months. Turkish forces have surrounded the area from the south and, via their proxies - the socalled Free Syrian Army - from the east and have been fortifying as well as bombing the area for the past few weeks.

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