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Turkey’s President (and would-be Strong Man / Islamic dictator) Erdogan, when nationwide local elections were routinely scheduled for March this year; thought he had all the usual bases covered. He had imprisoned hundreds of journalists whom he had decided might be writing against his Presidency. He had also imprisoned a vast swathe of his Oppositions’ activists; and after also disbarring thousands of teachers and local Government officials because he didn’t like the way they spoke against him: thought he had it all under control.
Unfortunately, he had either forgotten the existence of Isaac Newton, or of the existence of the Strong Man’s nightmare, Newton’s Third Law. In scientific terms, the Law states that ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ In modern political terminology, it could well be expressed as that, given half-a-chance, a repressed and resentful electorate may well rebel, and state that the President, along with the President’s Party, isn’t as popular as he once thought! Just a few decades ago, all it took was one Union, the Solidarity Union in the shipyards of Gdansk to set off the collapsing dominoes which brought down the Soviet Union, and dismembered the stranglehold which that same Soviet held on Eastern Europe, with that one domino being the Berlin Wall.
So, the March elections were held, and in a shock result, the Opposition won in many areas, but most spectacularly, in the two cities which actually count; those being Ankara and Istanbul. But President Erdogan cried ‘foul’ and pushed his hand-picked Electoral Board to organise a re-run in Istanbul, where the Opposition Mayor had won by a measly 13,000 votes.
Yesterday, the Istanbul Election was re-run, and in a stunning kick in the Presidential ‘goolies’, the Opposition increased its majority from 13,000 to 800,000. President Erdogan might regret the day he chose “Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey,” as his election slogan.