Turkey’s Election Could Put an End to the Erdogan Era

Turkey’s Election Could Put an End to the Erdogan Era
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to his supporters during an election campaign rally in Istanbul, Turkey, May 12, 2023 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

In a year full of momentous elections around the world, perhaps none has generated as much fascination, anticipation and trepidation among outside observers as Turkey’s presidential election this Sunday. For good reason. Domestically, regionally and internationally, there’s a lot riding on the outcome.

For the past 20 years, first as prime minister and since 2014 as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shaped—and repeatedly reshaped—Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy. But he now faces his greatest electoral challenge yet. The often-fractured political opposition has united behind the candidacy of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, while Turkey’s economic boom, long a feather in Erdogan’s cap, has flagged in recent years due to Erdogan’s meddling and mismanagement.

Perhaps most importantly, Erdogan has lost his aura of invincibility. Kilicdaroglu is surging in the polls, with a first-round victory Sunday now a distinct possibility. As a result, an electorate that had grown listless after years of democratic erosion under Erdogan seems to have been shocked out of its torpor by the unfamiliar prospect of his defeat.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.