Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş broke the national viewing record for a stream on Twitch, the Amazon-owned platform known for broadcasting video game play, on Wednesday with 362,223 concurrent viewers at its peak.
Yavaş, who was elected in the 2019 local elections from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), joined a broadcast by 29-year-old streamer Pelin Baynazoğlu in an attempt to raise funds for a municipal forestation project called “Yeşilin Başkenti” (the Capital City of Green) that allows Ankara residents to order the planting of trees online.
The broadcast, which lasted for an hour and was viewed more than 2 million times in total in less than 12 hours according to a report by the T24 news website, generated more than TL 20,000 ($2,714) in revenue for the forestation project, local media said.
“The top stream on Twitch right now is Turkish politics with 346K live viewers. Incredible,” 29-year-old Hasan Piker, known on Twitch as HasanAbi, tweeted on Wednesday.
Piker is a progressive political commentator who emerged as the most-watched streamer on Twitch, which has become a lively political space in recent months, after 80-plus hours of live US presidential election coverage in November.
The Twitch record of Yavaş, who has been seen by many as the opposition parties’ presidential candidate in the next presidential election, scheduled for 2023, showed that he has the support of Turkey’s Generation Z – most of which will be casting votes for the first time in 2023, T24 said.
A survey conducted by Ankara-based pollster Metropoll in January showed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being defeated by Yavaş in a possible presidential election scenario in which Yavaş is running against the incumbent president.
According to the survey conducted with the participation of 1,791 people across 28 provinces, Yavaş defeats Erdoğan, garnering 43.9 percent of the nationwide vote, while Erdoğan’s vote remains at 40.7 percent.
When he was elected Ankara mayor in 2019, Yavaş ended the 25-year rule in the city of the AKP and its predecessors. The politician has growing public support due to his fight against corruption and efforts aimed at saving taxpayer dollars.
Erdoğan, however, has been accused by his critics of creating a one-man rule and destroying the separation of powers under the presidential system, which went into force following a referendum in 2017, replacing the country’s parliamentary system and granting him vast powers while weakening parliament.