Ahmet Misbah Demircan, the Pied Piper of Beyoğlu

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A deafening AKP campaign cavalcade just passed through my street in Gümüşsuyu, Beyoğlu – a heartland of CHP (opposition) support. Intrigued, I followed it to find a huge crowd of men and women wearing orange AKP scarfs and carrying red carnations following two vans blaring out the campaign song. The AKP incumbent for Beyoglu, Ahmet Misbah Demircan himself led the way, like a silver-haired political Pied Piper, stopping occasionally to throw carnations into the air and pass them to bemused residents and shop keepers.

Footage below. First film shows from afar an enraged resident shouting from his window at the procession – “Stop that ****ing noise!” The next drama is the van getting stuck at a sharp turn.

The second film shows Demircan throwing carnations at a man who fails to catch them, and then going into a shop to pay his personal respects. Lackeys with armfuls of carnations stand at the ready to re-load his arsenal. Someone in the procession asks me why I’m filming and I reassure him that I am merely interested.

This procession shows just how determined the AKP is to win over as many people as possible, even in areas that are unlikely to vote for them. The AKP heartlands in Beyoglu are places like Kasımpaşa and Tophane, not middle class areas like Gümüşsuyu. Extraordinary persistence.

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