Oy ve Ötesi, the role of a civil society movement ahead the 2019 Istanbul’s mayoral election rerun

Since 2002 general election, Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been playing the leading role in Turkish politics. Thus, and by its very nature, AKP has conducted highly divisive rhetoric, followed by extreme polarization in which the latest piece is the electoral rerun that took place in Istanbul on June 23, 2019. In actual fact, after the defeat that occurred in the first round, local AKP members filed a complaint with the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) asking for a novel electoral episode, and hoping for a better fate. During this polarized scenario, the paper claims that the role of civil society, in particular Vote and Beyond (Oy ve Ötesi), have played a decisive part in raising public awareness and eventually in reducing the gap between electorate and political choices. In the final analysis, the impact of Vote and Beyond exceeded the mere participation in electoral arenas as it appears to successfully shape civil consciousness towards a less polarized path.