A Glimmer of Hope? Turkish Local Elections and the Fate of 4 Million Refugees

turkey election 2024

Turkish Local Elections – Turkey has over 4 million refugees living there. Refugees in Turkey often face mean words and blame for problems. They get caught in the middle of political fights. The recent local elections on March 31 were won by the opposition CHP party. This gives some hope that a political change could help make life better for the many refugees in Turkey.

Political Rhetoric on Refugees

Most big political parties in Turkey, including the ruling AKP and opposition CHP, want to send the refugees back to their home countries. They just disagree on when and how to do it. Refugees were a huge topic in the 2023 elections. The far-right ATA Alliance party made many people angry about immigrants. But in the 2024 local elections, refugees were not talked about as much because people cared more about economic problems.

CHP’s Path to Change? – Turkish Local Elections

Turkish Local Elections are not fully free and fair. The rules help President Erdogan’s AKP party stay in power. But some studies show that city governments can still make democratic changes happen. The CHP’s big win was helped by the popular mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoğlu. He calls Istanbul a light of democracy for Turkey and the world.

The CHP has some leaders who don’t like immigrants, like Tanju Özcan. But it also has some who are nicer to refugees, like the mayor of Izmir, Tunç Soyer. The new CHP leader Özgür Özel wants to fight against far-right groups everywhere.

Potential for Inclusive Democracy?

Özel and Imamoğlu have supported people who get treated badly, like Kurdish politicians. But it is still not clear if the CHP’s vision of democracy includes non-citizens like refugees. Before 2028, the party needs to decide what to do about refugees staying in Turkey for a long time.

Left-wing parties like DEM could maybe influence CHP to be nicer to immigrants. But far-right parties may do well in EU elections, which could make Turkey less friendly to refugees too.

Keep Reading

Upcoming EU Elections

The European Union elections in June 2024 will be very important for refugees in Turkey. The EU making Turkey control borders has made Turkish people angrier at refugees. If far-right parties win big in the EU, it could make Turkey’s government and opposition both turn against refugees more.

Glimmers of Hope

Even though Turkey’s leader is not democratic, politics there can change quickly. It’s possible that a new, fairer democracy could make life better for the 4 million refugees. But the recent democratic changes will have to overcome many challenges at home and from other countries. For refugees in Turkey, the 2024 Turkish Local Elections give a small glimmer of hope.



Salma Hussain is an MBBS doctor who loves to write on health-related topics. Apart from this, writing on sports and entertainment topics is her hobby. She is playing the role of an important writer in Arab Post.

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