On Sunday, Turks will vote in one of the most important elections in the last 100 years of modern Turkey. This election could get rid of President Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power and stop his government from becoming more and more authoritarian.
Turkey is a NATO country with 85 million people. The election will decide not only who will lead the country, but also how it will be ruled, where its economy will go in the midst of a deep crisis in the cost of living, and how its foreign policy, which has taken unexpected turns, will look.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads an alliance of six opposition parties and is Erdogan’s main opponent, has a small lead in the polls, but if neither of them gets more than 50% of the vote, there will be a second round of voting on May 28.
A Tweet related to the elections:
“#Erdogan‘s moment of truth?
Turkish elections could be quite close and Erdogan could lose power. Can Turkish democracy reboot itself?”@DeutscheWelle https://t.co/Wh3LODa9Z9 pic.twitter.com/qJnfNU4emo
— Can Dündar (@candundaradasi) May 11, 2023
Three months ago, more than 50,000 people died in shocks in the southeast of Turkey. Many people in the affected provinces were upset with how slowly the government responded at first, but there isn’t much proof that this has changed how people will vote.
Voters will also choose a new parliament. It is likely to be a close race between the People’s Alliance, which includes Erdogan’s conservative Islamist-rooted AK Party (AKP) and the nationalist MHP, and Kilicdaroglu’s Nation Alliance, which includes his secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) and six other opposition parties.
At 5 p.m., the polls will close. In Turkey, it is against the law to report any poll results before 9 p.m. By the end of Sunday, it might be pretty clear if there will be a second round of voting for the president.
Kurdish voters, who make up 15–20% of the electorate, will be very important since the Nation Alliance is not expected to get a majority in parliament on its own.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is not part of the main opposition group, but its members have been persecuted in recent years, so its members are now very opposed to Erdogan.
The HDP has said that it will vote for Kilicdaroglu for president. It is running for parliament under the name of the small Green Left Party because a top prosecutor has filed a court case to ban the HDP because it has ties to Kurdish militants, which the HDP rejects.