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Erdogan wins Turkish presidential elections

Photo use with permission from Sandro Weltin/ Flickr
A Turkish citizen casts his vote in a previous election. In the second round of the vote, Recep Tayyip Erdoganmearned 52.14% while Kemal Kilicdaroglu received 47.86%.

Tens of millions of Turkish voters casted their votes for the presidential election May 14, according to The Guardian. However, with no candidate earning more than 50% of the vote, a runoff vote between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu occurred May 28, according to the BBC. Erdogan won the vote and will continue to serve as Turkish president for the upcoming five years, his third term in office.

Melisa Faralyali (’26), who has lived in Turkey, said she was shocked when she heard President Erdogan had been voted in during the second round. 

“I was quite surprised because like the economy has been going really bad so everyone thought it would change the president,” Faralyali said.

Social Studies teacher Rodney Yeoh said, as a Malaysian, he has followed the elections quite closely due to the religious connections between the two countries. 

“Malaysia has very close ties with Turkey because they’re both Muslim-majority countries, my initial reaction was of interest because I follow it because of that,” Yeoh said.  

Sinan Ogan, the third candidate who earned 5.28% of the vote in round one according to AP News, announced during the second round of voting that he was in support of Erdogan, causing his supporters to turn to vote for Erdogan.

Map of results of the 2023 Turkey elections by colour. (Photo with permission from Randam/Wikimedia Commons)

After hearing this news, Naz Kaya (’25), who is from Turkey, said she felt that Erdogan winning the election would be a probable outcome.

“I wasn’t surprised at all because in the first round, the elections between the two main candidates were very close and there was one tiebreaker,” Kaya said. “Once [Sinan Ogan] announced that I almost kind of knew that [Erdogan] was gonna win.”

Kaya said she thinks one reason Erdogan was able to win the election was due to his use of “religion and other manipulation techniques to get more votes and to convince the people supporting him.”

Aris Perrotis (’25), who is from Greece, said Erdogan is the source of the disintegrating economy Turkey is experiencing.

“I think that what he has done with the Turkish economy is horrible,” Perrotis said. “I’m worried what will happen next, like will the economy continue to go in a downward spiral, or will it recover, I don’t know.” 

The inflation rate of goods and services in Turkey rose by 105.19% in April, and The state of the Turkish economy and the cost of living is expected to worsen with President Erdogan, according to The Guardian

Faralyali said Erdogan is not knowledgeable enough to improve the economy. 

“He doesn’t really know about the economy,” Faralyali said. “They just voted for him for his view on religion.”

Perrotis said he does not support Erdogan due to his unpredictable nature in global relations. 

“I find that he is very provocative on an international level,” Perrotis said. “At least for us in Greece, he is regularly sending fighter jets into our airspace and threatening invasions, so I’m not the biggest fan.

According to The Washington Post, Erdogan let millions of Syrian refugees into Turkey during the refugee crisis. Kaya said although she recognizes the importance of providing aid to immigrants in need, Erdogan must strike a balance. 

“In Turkey it’s happening on a level so large that people, the citizens of Turkey, like the citizens of the country itself aren’t able to find jobs, provide for themselves, sustain their living, because of this immigration crisis,” Kaya said.

In Turkey it’s happening on a level so large that people, the citizens of Turkey, like the citizens of the country itself aren’t able to find jobs, provide for themselves, sustain their living, because of this immigration crisis

— Melisa Faralyali (’26)

Alternatively, Kaya said Turkey should look to countries such as Germany who have more organized structures in place to provide immigrants with support while balancing the basic needs that its citizens require. 

Kaya said her biggest hope for the future of Turkey is that change is made to the political system so financially suffering Turkish citizens can be given support. 

“I hope that the system changes as soon as possible because it needs to in order for Turkish citizens to, I guess, stop living through the crisis,” Kaya said. “There’s many that are not even able to buy the simplest foods to sustain themselves, rent, or a house.”

Yeoh said his leading hope is that Turkey will become more united as a country in the future.

“I just want to see Turkish people being happy living with each other, not divided,” Yeoh said. “Just working together towards a common goal.” 

Perrotis said because President Erdogan has been in power for a while, he is worried that further corruption could unravel. 

“You start to become a very absolute figure of power in your country,” Perrotis said. “I think that can often times lead to abuse of power.” 

Moreover, Faralyali said she is worried about the future of Turkish democracy due to rumors of Erdogan seeking to eradicate future elections to retain his role as president.

Ultimately, Perrotis said he has noticed that Turkey has become less democratic since Erdogan was elected, and he believes the current restriction on freedom of speech is a large issue. 

“More people have been arrested for their political views, and I think that’s not okay,” Perrotis said. “ I think it’s a big problem in a country of 80 million people when freedom of speech is restricted.”

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