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)

SUMMARY

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.