The world is paying close attention to Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled on May 14th, which are being hailed as one of the most significant events of 2023. Analysts believe that Turkey is one of the few pivotal states in the world, possessing strategic political, military, and economic assets that are highly coveted by major world powers. Therefore, any significant change in alliances or partnerships can have a significant impact on the balance of power in world politics. Therefore, Turkey’s election results hold significant implications for the global political landscape.
Four candidates announced
Turkey’s 2023 presidential elections are quickly approaching, and four candidates have officially announced their candidacy. The four candidates running for Turkey’s 2023 presidential elections are Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Muharrem İnce, and Sinan Oğan. Erdoğan is the ruling People’s Alliance candidate while Kılıçdaroğlu is running as the opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s candidate. İnce is the leader of the Homeland Party, and Oğan represents the far-right ATA Alliance. Each candidate has garnered support from different political parties and groups, with Kılıçdaroğlu receiving support from six opposition parties and Erdoğan receiving support from four ruling parties, including the radical Islamist Free Cause Party. Meanwhile, İnce has only the support of his party, and Oğan is supported by the ultra-nationalist Victory Party, Justice Party, Turkey Alliance Party, and My Country Party.
A pivotal state?
Pivotal states, like Turkey, are becoming increasingly important in a multipolar world, where the balance of power is shifting from unipolarity to multipolarity. Turkey has been a significant member of the Western alliance since World War II. However, the relationship between Ankara and the West has been strained in recent years. There have been concerns that Turkey is distancing itself from the West and getting closer to Russia, which is causing concern in Western capitals. The relationship between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has had over 30 face-to-face meetings, participated in numerous summits, and exchanged over a hundred phone calls. In contrast, the number of presidential meetings between the US and Turkey during the same period has been significantly lower.
Furthermore, Turkey’s location makes it a vital transit point between Europe and Asia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and the Middle East and the Balkans. It is a key energy hub, with significant oil and gas pipelines running through its territory, connecting the Middle East and Europe. Turkey is also a member of NATO, which has given it a prominent role in regional security and has allowed it to exert influence beyond its borders. Furthermore, Turkey’s military power is significant, with the second-largest army in NATO after the United States.
However, Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy have caused concern in Western capitals. Turkey’s crackdown on civil liberties, including the arrests of journalists and opposition figures, has led to criticism from the EU and the US. Additionally, Turkey’s military intervention in Syria and its purchase of a Russian missile defence system have raised concerns among NATO members. Turkey’s increasing closeness to Russia has also raised eyebrows, given the ongoing tensions between Russia and the West. It remains to be seen how Turkey’s pivotal position will play out in a rapidly changing global landscape, but its importance cannot be underestimated.
Does Turkey have an alternative to the West?
The possibility of Turkey moving away from the West and aligning itself with Russia or another direction has been a concern in Western capitals since 2007. The failure of Turkey’s Western policy has undergone a radical shift, and in particular, the relations between Turkey and the US have deteriorated like never before. The real rupture in relations occurred after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt when the Turkish side accused the US of being behind the coup. The failure to extradite the individual accused of being the coup leader, who was residing in the United States, and the subsequent arrest and trial of some American citizens in Turkey, eliminated any possibility of reconciliation between the parties.
The West sees Turkey’s government as being hostile towards them, while the Turkish government argues that the root of the problem lies in the US’ continued meddling in their internal affairs. Joe Biden has referred to the Turkish President as an “autocrat” and indicated that he would work towards changing the president of Turkey if elected. This statement sparked strong reactions in Turkey and was viewed as a continuation of America’s policy of meddling in internal affairs.
Why the results matter for the global political landscape?
The outcome of Turkey’s elections will have significant implications for the global political landscape. The world is watching Turkey’s election results with bated breath, as Turkey’s position in which bloc it takes will have a significant impact on the balance of power in world politics. If Erdogan wins, Turkey’s drift away from the West is expected to continue, which could have implications for the region and beyond. A victory for Erdogan would strengthen Russia’s hand in the region, and Turkey would potentially become a major player in Russia’s orbit. If the opposition wins, Turkey is expected to align itself more closely with the West, which could lead to a rapprochement in Turkish-Western relations.
Furthermore, the outcome of the elections could also have implications for the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, such as the war in Syria. Turkey plays a significant role in the Syrian conflict and has been supporting the Syrian opposition against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. A victory for Erdogan could result in a more assertive Turkish foreign policy, which could further complicate the Syrian conflict. On the other hand, if the opposition wins, Turkey’s policy towards Syria could change, and it may seek to work more closely with Western powers to find a solution to the conflict. The result of Turkey’s elections, therefore, has far-reaching implications not just for Turkey but for the wider region as well.
The world is paying close attention to Turkey’s elections, which are considered the most important in the world. Turkey’s strategic location and political, military, and economic assets make it one of the few pivotal states in the world. The outcome of the elections will have significant implications for the global political landscape. Turkey’s position in which bloc it takes will have a significant impact on the balance of power in world politics. The West sees Turkey’s government as being hostile towards them, while the Turkish government argues that the root of the problem lies in the US’s and EU’s bias against Turkey.
In conclusion, Turkey’s upcoming elections will have far-reaching consequences for both its domestic and international affairs. The election results will determine the future course of the country and its relationships with other nations. With Turkey’s key position in the Middle East, its alliances, and its geopolitical importance, the world will be closely watching the election outcome. It is important for all parties involved to ensure that the election is free, fair, and transparent and that the will of the Turkish people is respected. Only then can Turkey move forward and strengthen its democratic institutions, economic growth, and regional stability.