Kasimpasa doubts his neighbor Erdogan

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The man who ruled Turkey for 20 years was born and raised in Kasimpasa, a humble neighborhood of Istanbul on the banks of the Bosphorus. “This is what we call Tayyip Erdogan’s ‘castle’, his stronghold in the city, where the support level is usually above 70%, but we are facing the most difficult election of his career and no one knows what will happen” , he says. Mustafa Köse, muhtar (a kind of mayor) of Kaptanpasa, the neighborhood where the Islamist leader lived until the 1990s. His phone doesn’t idle and he answers every call while going through the register of voters. Neighbors go to the muhtar for help because they can’t make ends meet, they need food, money to pay for electricity or rent. “Erdogan’s first ten years were spectacular and the economy grew, but now we are living in the worst moment since he ruled. He has done great things, such as restoring Hagia Sophia as a mosque, but the economy will be the most important factor in the elections on May 14,” says Köse. Related News standard Yes Erdogan inaugurates the first nuclear power plant in Turkey during the election campaign Mikel Ayestaran standard Yes The regularization of thousands of houses built without permits near Erdogan Mikel Ayestaran The average rent for an apartment in Kasimpasa has risen from 1,500 lira per month (75 euros at the current exchange rate) to 7,000 (350 euros), a prohibitive increase for the residents of a neighborhood built by emigrants from the Black Sea who arrived in the city in the 1930s, such as the Islamist leader’s own family . Opposite the muhtar’s office is the Sinan Pasa Mosque, where Erdogan often led prayers. The small temple is just a few feet from the house where he was born 69 years ago, “although the original was made of wood and was demolished,” the muhtar explains. The house that still stands is the one he lived in until he was appointed mayor of Istanbul, a four-story pink block at 34 Piyale Mumhanesi Street. Erdogan’s political rise began as head of his hometown, where he was mayor between 1994 and 1998, when he was imprisoned on charges of “attacking the secular principles of the republic”. This arrest boosted his image with the most conservative voters. In 2001 he founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In 2002 he won the surprise election and became prime minister. Since then, he has emerged victorious in all the elections he has participated in and defeated a coup. Selahattin misses the days when he played football with the head of government. M. Ayestaran “We were inseparable, we are the same age, we studied at the same school and I was responsible for watering during football matches on hot days,” recalls Mehmet Tuluoglu, a childhood friend and neighbor from the same street. . “He used to come a lot, but since he’s president we only see him on television. The earthquake and the economic crisis will determine the voice of the people, I think they can get a maximum of 45 of the votes. This time I see Kılıçdaroğlu as a clear favourite,” Mehmet emphasizes in the presence of a muhtar who agrees and insists that “these are the most difficult elections for Erdogan”. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Social Democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), is the person who could remove him from power after a career marked by consecutive defeats at the polls. This 74-year-old politician is the antithesis of his rival, he managed to unite six parties to end him and since 2017 he has been nicknamed ‘Gandhi Kemal’ after leading a march from Ankara to Istanbul in protest against the arrest of thousands of civil servants, activists, journalists and politicians. “These are elections to choose between a democracy and an authoritarian system,” this politician usually says slowly when talking about the May 14 appointment. “He used to come a lot, but since he’s president we only see him on television.” Mehmet sees Kılıçdaroğlu as the winner, but his posters can hardly be seen in “Erdogan’s Castle”. Here the ubiquitous face is that of the Islamic leader and the flags are those of the AKP, with the lightbulb symbol in the center. Former footballer Doubts about the continuity of the president in power are settled with a stroke of the pen at the table where Selahattin is having breakfast. At the age of 77, this man with a woolen cap of Besiktas, one of the big teams in Istanbul, wore the number 4 on the shirt of the neighborhood club where Erdogan was number 10. “He was like Cristiano Ronaldo, he had a powerful shot and a powerful jump, he ran the 90 minutes and was very generous with his teammates. A 10 as a footballer and as a politician, there is no one like him,” says his former wardrobe partner. After several teas and eating the cheese, cucumber, tomato and cleaning the sesame seeds that left the simit (Turkish round bread) on the table , shows Selahattin on his phone old photos of the team with the president crouched in the row of chairs below He misses those days and seeing him in these steep streets of Kasimpasa where the new generations only know Erdogan from television.
Source: La Verdad

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