SUITS Policy Brief: What can we expect from Turkey’s 2023 elections?

What can we expect from Turkey’s 2023 elections?

Author: Jenny White (SUITS)

February, 2023

Stockholm University, Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS)


Turkey will hold elections for parliament and president on May 14, 2023, the outcome of which will radically shape Turkey’s future and relations with the rest of the world. Two main blocs of political parties have formed, one around the ruling AKP and current president, Tayyip Erdoğan, and the other around the opposition CHP and its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. A win by Erdoğan will consolidate Turkey as an autocracy facing away from the West, while the opposition plans to return the country to parliamentary rule and broadly restore good relations with the West. Votes within the alliances will be pooled and polls currently show them almost equal for both elections, giving the excluded pro-Kurdish HDP, which polls at around 10%, the role of kingmaker. Both alliances must overcome their nationalist tendences to woo the Kurds. If the opposition wins, the West must act quickly to help stabilize the country for what will be a fragile return to democracy.  

UI & SKL International: Iraqis Striving for Change

In October 2021, two years after the latest outburst of youth-driven protests started in Iraq, parliamentary elections were held with a remarkably low turnout. A new government is yet to be formed while Iraq’s core problems remain unresolved. In which direction is Iraq heading, and what can the international community do to support positive change?

Iraq has one of the world’s youngest populations. Roughly 800,000 young Iraqis enter the workforce every year, only to find that job opportunities are few and far between. In October 2019, the non-sectarian Tishreen protest movement brought the core issues to the fore: uninhibited corruption within the ruling elite while the majority of the population lives in poverty; lack of rule of law; foreign meddling and the activities of state-financed, autonomous militias who are not accountable to anybody. The protesters were met with lethal force.

The MENA analyst Bitte Hammargren has been commissioned by SKL International to research and write a series of reports on the current state of affairs in Iraq. The recently published report, Iraqis striving for change: ”We want a homeland”, builds on fieldwork conducted in November 2021. She has conducted interviews with Iraqis in various positions in Baghdad and south Iraq, including young protesters from the Tishreen movement, leading clerics in Iraq’s centre for Shiism in Najaf, female professionals in a conservative environment and many others.

SKL International, an affiliate of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, in cooperation with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs (UI) invite you to a webinar discussing the popular demands for change in Iraq and the structural barriers and resistance hindering it.

Bitte Hammargren, Turkey & MENA analyst, journalist and writer; Senior Associate Fellow at UI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme
Lahib Higel, Senior Iraq Analyst at the International Crisis Group, based in Baghdad
Gunnar Andersson, Senior expert, Local Governance in Iraq project, SKL International

The webinar is moderated by Rouzbeh Parsi, Head of Programme at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Use this link to register for the event

GLD Policy Roundtable: Morocco

The Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) is hosting a policy roundtable on Morocco.

Morocco has one of the most advanced local governance systems in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Despite its monarchical structure, the regime has held local elections since the 1960s and local councils play an important role in providing services and addressing the everyday needs of Moroccan citizens throughout the state. On September 8, 2021, Moroccans elected about 30,600 local council seats and 678 regional council seats.

Join us for our upcoming policy roundtable on October 25th, where we have invited experts to discuss the results of the most recent elections, implications for local governance, and the impact of autocratic rule on shaping policy outcomes at the subnational level.

  • Saloua Zerhouni, professor of political science at Mohammed V University in Rabat
  • Romain Ferrali, Assistant Professor, Aix Marseille School of Economics
  • Francesco Colin, Ph.D. researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Marwa Shalaby (Moderator), assistant professor in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Use this link to go to the event page and register

Developments in the Middle East and Perspectives on WMD Disarmament2

SIPRI’s Tarja Cronberg will be participating in a panel which will discuss the developments in the Middle East since the outbreak of the pandemic. The seminar is hosted by Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Despite the Covid pandemic, the last 12 months have seen a flurry of activity in the Middle East in the field of regional security: The Abraham Accords, moves by the USA and Iran to return to compliance with the JCPOA, and elections in the USA, Iran and Israel, among many others.

In this media briefing hosted jointly by Atomic Reporters, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Middle East Treaty Organization experts in the field will present to reporters from the region and beyond on these pressing topics in order to provide useful context and background to the upcoming UN conferences on weapons of mass destruction (WMD).


Mark Fitzpatrick, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Ali Vaez, International Crisis Group

Tarja Cronberg, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Sharon Dolev, Middle East Treaty Organization


Marc Finaud, Geneva Centre for Security Policy


Sign up here to attend the event.


When: 1 September, 16.00-17.00 CEST

Where: Virtual

Registration: Sign up here