Turkey’s President Erdogan wins 5 more years in election

Turkish President and People’s Alliance’s presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Erdogan has dissipated a challenge by an opponent who sought to reverse his increasingly authoritarian leanings, securing five more years to oversee the country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia that plays a key role in NATO.

Turkey has reelected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for another five years after close election results were counted on Sunday.

Erdogan won with 52% of votes while his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had 48% of the votes, according to The Associated Press.

Reuters reported Kilicdaroglu did not dispute the outcome but said it was “the most unfair election in years.”

After his win, Erdogan said in his speech, “It is our nation that won with all of its elements. It is our democracy,” NPR reported.


The Associated Press reported Erdogan told supporters, “We hope to be worthy of your trust, as we have been for 21 years.”

Turkey is a key member of NATO and a major military power that is experiencing high inflation rates and repercussions from earthquakes in February that left millions homeless, NPR said.

“A third term gives Erdogan, a polarizing populist, an even stronger hand domestically and internationally, and the election results will have implications far beyond the capital of Ankara,” The Associated Press said.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The New York Times said Erdogan’s political history in his country included being prime minister in 2003 and president since 2014, adding that “Mr. Erdogan has sidelined the country’s traditional political and military elites and expanded the role of Islam in public life.”

The Times said Erdogan “has used crises to expand his power, centering major decision-making about domestic, foreign and economic policy inside the walls of his sprawling presidential palace.”

Erdogan said Turkey’s biggest current issue is inflation and that releasing former pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas from jail “would not be possible under his governance,” Reuters reported.

About 4 million Syrian refugees celebrated Erdogan’s win after his open-door policy to Syrian refugees fleeing war about 10 years ago helped them escape conflict, NPR said.

Celebrations of people parading the streets after the election show support for Erdogan is strong. One civilian commenting that, “Our country is stronger thanks to Erdogan, he can stand up to foreign leaders. He makes us feel safe and powerful. They can’t play with us like they used to,” the Times reported.


Kemal Kilicdaroglu

During his campaign, Kilicdaroglu promised to “reverse Erdogan’s democratic backsliding, to restore the economy by reverting to more conventional policies and to improve ties with the West,” according to the AP.

Kilicdaroglu said, “We will continue to be at the forefront of this struggle until real democracy comes to our country,” urging his 25 million supporters to “remain upright,” AP added.

Reuters said Kilicdaroglu’s loss may be mourned by Turkey’s NATO allies.

Fellow politicians, analysts and voters said Kilicdaroglu “will need to immediately refocus on maintaining control of Turkey’s big cities in the municipal elections,” Reuters said.