If we lose Istanbul, we lose Turkey: the AKP’s unfortunate call of the Supreme Electoral Council in the 2019 electoral rerun in Istanbul

Elections and electoral participation are synonyms of vibrant democracies. Voter turnout is a measure for a healthy democracy, and the higher the former, the more robust the latter should be. However, this does not seem to be the case of Turkey, where the turnout rate remains one of the highest in the world, although the presence of a competitive authoritarian regime. The establishment in 1950 of the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) does not provide sufficient safeguards for the electoral processes. What occurred in 2017 and 2019, when, first, the YSK allowed unstamped ballots in the Constitutional referendum and, then, ordered the Istanbul rerun, might raise many questions of politicization in favour of Justice and Development Party (AKP). This paper argues that the citizens’ mistrust in the YSK might have played an important role in the 2019 Istanbul rerun, which ultimately turned out to be a political faux pas with counterproductive effects that are still in progress.