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Türkiye Elections 2023

Turkish Woes

The Turkish elections have focused on the economic woes of Türkiye and the earthquakes that rocked the nation in February. Türkiye has been in an economic downturn. An inflation rate of over 43% today, down from 85% in October 2022. The Lira losing value in 2021 has been the primary reason for the inflation in the country. The cost of living and housing crisis are other aspects of the country’s economic woes.

The earthquakes in February, devastated the region, leaving over 50,000 dead and 100,000 injured. The response from the Turkish government was poor. The military response to the region was slow, leaving the people to fend for themselves for two days. Türkiye would also limit communications by restricting Twitter to stop “disinformation” about the earthquake and the Turkish government. Despite regulations to prevent such a disaster, similar to the 1999 earthquake that killed over 17,000, these regulations were largely ignored by the Turkish government.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the current President, seeking reelection. Erdoğan became Prime Minster in 2003 under a Parliamentary system, making him the head of the daily affairs of the country. He became President in 2014, and Türkiye shifted to a Presidential system in 2017, making Erdoğan the most powerful member of the government once again. He is a member of the Right to far-right Justice and Development Party. Erdogan is a social conservative and a neoliberal philosophy when it comes to economics.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is the biggest challenger to Erdoğan. He is the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), a centre to centre-left party, since 2010. Kemal can be defined as a pro-Europeanism social democrat He is the selected candidate of the “Table of Six,” a group designed to oppose Erdogan and return the country to a parliamentary system.

Sinan Oğan

There was a third candidate in the first round. Sinan Oğan is running as an independent in this race, but he has allegiances to the Far-right Ancestral Alliance, an election alliance. Oğan was once a minister for the Nationalist Movement Party, a neo-fascist party.

Election Interference

Elections are extremely contentious in Türkiye. Election rigging (allegedly) has run rampant in the country since 2015. Political violence, such as bombings and assaults, State-media(the largest media source in the country) favoriting Erdoğan. The 2023 election cycle is no different. Deep fakes, assassination threats, and accusations of reporting false numbers. The deep fakes showed Erdogan’s opponents rallying with PKK, a terrorist organization( according to the Turkish government,) and a fake sex tape that resulted in a different candidate dropping out of the race. Kılıçdaroğlu and allies like Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of Istanbul, have been threatened and attacked numerous times throughout his campaign. The CHP claimed that the results being shown by the state media are incorrect in an attempt to demoralize supporters. AKP responded to this accusation by claiming the CHP is trying to take the nation hostage and following it up, “Our President is clearly in the lead, but we do not publish results out of respect for the will of the nation.”

Throughout the campaign, opinion polls have had a dead heat between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu, with most having Kılıçdaroğlu winning in either the first round or the second round against Erdoğan.
Erdoğan won the first round with 49.5% of the vote, Kılıçdaroğlu with 44.8%, and Ogan with 5%. The election will end with no majority winner, forcing a second round on May 28th between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.

Parliament

The Parliamentary elections, show disappointment for the AKP, losing 27 seats. The winners are CHP and YSGP(Party of Greens and the Left Future). CHP has picked up 23 seats from 2018. YSGP is a new left-wing coalition that has so far picked up 61 seats, making them the third-biggest party in Türkiye, overtaking both the Good Party and the Nationalist Movement Party.