In certain countries, the selection of representatives is carried out through direct vote of the people, while in others, an indirect voting system is followed. Additionally, there are places that employ a mixed method for elections. In Turkey, the citizens have the opportunity to elect both members of parliament and the president on the same day. While the election of parliament members occurs within a single day, the process of electing the president may span a few days to complete.
In 2017, 51.41% of the people in Turkey voted in favour of amending the constitution, and a presidential system of government was introduced in the country. On June 24, 2018, for the first time, the citizens of the country voted together for the parliamentary and presidential elections. Earlier, in the country, there was a parliamentary system with three branches. There, the legislative department and the executive department were controlled by the majority of the parliament and the judiciary was independent.
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Under the new system, the position of the prime minister has been eliminated, resulting in the consolidation of power in the hands of the president. Consequently, the president assumes authority over the executive branch and effectively controls the governance of the country as the head of state. It is the Parliament’s job is make laws. The President nominates a VP and ministers, appoints high-ranking government officials and approves the country’s budget. However, it has to be passed by the parliament to implement it.
A candidate to participate in the presidential election:
- Must be a citizen of Turkey.
- Must be at least 40 years or above.
- Must have a minimum Bachelor’s degree.
The President also holds the right to dissolve the parliament. If the parliament is dissolved for some reason, he also has to fight in the presidential election, as parliamentary and presidential elections are bound to be held on the same day. The Supreme Election Council is responsible for organizing and managing the elections.
Since 1960, their responsibility is to ensure transparent electoral environment. After the approval of the candidates, the election campaign begins. A Ballot Box Committee consisting of six members is formed in every election, where their responsibilty is to monitor the voting process. Each voter is notified of their polling station by email before voting. Voters are no longer marked with indelible ink after voting in Turkey. At the end of voting, the voters sign a specific paper, which records the voter’s attendance.
The total number of seats in the parliament is 600. In parliamentary elections in Turkey, voters choose political parties rather than individual candidates. The allocation of parliamentary seats is based on the proportion of votes received by each party. Turkey is divided into seven electoral areas, and parties must surpass a 7 percent threshold nationwide to secure parliamentary representation. However, this threshold rule does not apply to individual candidates, allowing for potential representation of candidates from parties that fall below the threshold.
A political party must win at least 5%/20 seats in the last election to field a candidate or he has to take the signature of 1 lakh citizens to support him. A candidate must get 50% of the votes to become President. If no one gets 50%, the election will be held in the 2nd round. After two weeks, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will compete. This time the one who gets more votes will be elected as the President. Turkey’s presidential electoral race began on the month of May this year, where the general elections took place on 14th May and a run-off election was held on 28th May, making Tayyip Erdogan the winner and third term President of Turkey.
LIST OF CANDIDATES IN THE 2023 TURKEY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN
Recep has had gradual political rise over the past three decades. During this time he spent three terms as the Prime Minister. Since 2014, he has been performing duties as the President of Turkey. In 2017, the presidential system was introduced in the country through a referendum. The following year Recep was elected as the 1st Executive President of Turkey.
As prime minister, he took the responsibilities of a country with a weak democracy, a failing economic system and a coup-prone country. He changed the situation of the country’s economy by taking timely decisions. Established relations with the West. He established himself as a Pro-Democracy leader. However, the situation changed after the abortive coup attempt of 2016. A massive campaign to purge various government institutions, including the Turkish army, judiciary, and media. According to many citizens, he changed the constitution to his advantage to establish a dictatorship. He went through a tough time due to rampant inflation, devaluation of currency and declining standard of living.
Recep promises that he is able to lower the inflation to numbers of single digits and aims for Mehmet Simsek, (a former Finance Minister) to craft a new economic policy. In foreign policy, he aims for normalizing the ties with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in an attempt to forge an “Axis of Turkey”
Here are some of Macron’s significant initiatives that he announced on April, 11, 2013-
- Construction of 650,000 houses in the earthquake zone, of which 319,000 will be completed in a year & transform all 81 provinces into disaster-resilient ones.
- Establishment of a “super high speed train line between Ankara and Istanbul.”
- Implementation of the Digital Turkish Lira project, “for which they have established the design and cryptology infrastructure.”
- Referring to the LGBTI+ groups, ensured all kinds of material and moral support as well as protection from all deviant ideologies.
- Establishment of a Family and Youth Bank, which will be sourced from the natural gas and oil revenues produced by our country. So that, they can start a family, contribute financially to them in every field from education to employment, from marriage to childcare.
- Providing the youth with the facility of higher education with tax exemption for mobile phones and computers for once, and provide 10 gigabytes of free internet per month.
- Transform the country into a global center in this field, by reaching 15 billion dollars in IT exports.
- Increasing national income to 1.5 trillion dollars, and then to 2 trillion dollars.
- Establishment of a “super high speed train line between Ankara and Istanbul.”
THE OPPONENT, KEMAL KILIÇDAROGLU:
Turkish economist, former civil servant, and a politician known for his social democratic ideology. Currently, he serves as the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and has been at the forefront of the main opposition in Turkey since 2010. Previously, from 2002 to 2015, he represented Istanbul’s second electoral district as a member of parliament. Since June 7, 2015, he has been serving as an MP for İzmir’s second electoral district.
On November 13, 2021, Kılıçdaroglu publicly acknowledged the mistakes made by his party, the CHP, and embarked on a journey of reconciliation through his “Call for Reconciliation.” In response to this call, on February 12, 2022, leaders of six opposition parties (Meral Akşener of the Good Party, Ahmet Davutoğlu of the Future Party, Ali Babacan of the DEVA Party, and Temel Karamollaoğlu of the Felicity Party) convened in Ahlatlıbel, Ankara. Their purpose was to engage in discussions and draft a consensus text aimed at strengthening the parliamentary system. This gathering led to the official announcement of an electoral alliance known as the “Table of Six.”
During an appearance on the morning show “Çalar Saat” on FOX TV, on September 5, 2022, Kılıçdaroğlu referenced the Table of Six when the topic of a joint candidate was raised. He openly declared, “If there is a consensus among the Table of Six, I am prepared to run in the presidential elections.” This marked the first time Kılıçdaroğlu publicly expressed his willingness to become a presidential candidate, demonstrating his commitment to the potential alliance.
Following the announcement of his selection as the joint candidate of the Nation Alliance, Kılıçdaroğlu delivered a speech in front of the CHP Headquarters. On March 7, during a parliamentary group meeting, the party declared his resignation from the group presidency. On March 10, Kılıçdaroğlu visited the earthquake-stricken areas of Malatya and Kahramanmaraş, spending the night in a tent in Nurhak. The planned launch of his candidacy on March 12 was postponed due to less than forty days passing since the earthquake.
On the same day, excerpts from Kılıçdaroğlu’s speeches were shared via the CHP’s official social media accounts. On March 14, Kılıçdaroğlu held his first meeting in Hatay after stepping down from the group presidency.
He also visited Şanlıurfa, where a flood had occurred, on March 15. On March 16, he traveled to Northern Cyprus and met with the families of Cypriot students who had lost their lives in the Kahramanmaraş earthquakes.
Three days before officially announcing his candidacy, Kılıçdaroğlu met with the Workers’ Party of Turkey and the Left Party, and on March 17, he announced his upcoming meetings with the Independent Turkey Party and the National Road Party. On March 27, the CHP released a video titled “Sana söz, yine baharlar gelecek” (“I promise you, spring will come again”) on their YouTube channel, officially commencing the presidential campaign.
The campaign film featured an adaptation of Paco de Lucía’s song “Palenque,” performed in Turkish by Levent Yüksel under the title “Tuana.”
One of Kılıçdaroğlu’s main campaign objectives is to restore the parliamentary democracy that was in place before the implementation of the presidential system.
Here are some of Kemal’s significant initiatives that he announced–
- Promised a return to orthodox economic policies, and to spearhead a return to parliamentary democracy.
- Pledged to restore judicial independence, a move away from using the judiciary to crack down on dissent.
- Pledged to deport millions of Syrian and Afghan refugees living in Turkey, a proposition that drew cheers from the crowd in Istanbul.
- Promised to support Ukraine and will provide all kinds of political support that is needed.
- Fulfillment of people’s longing for democracy” and would “turn towards the West.
- Turning foreign policy around 180 degrees. They will bring all the democratic rules stipulated by the European Union to the country.
- Assured that, No one will be in jail because of their thoughts’. Asked about political prisoners like philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish politician and former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, Kilicdaroglu said they would be released under his leadership.
Recep Erdogan emerged as the winner in the presidential election run-off as the results have now been published. This marks his third consecutive victory, having previously won in the first phase twice. Despite initial doubts surrounding his chances of re-election, Erdogan proved pre-election speculations wrong by securing a decisive victory in the run-off.
In the first round, Recep received the highest number of votes, amounting to 49.42%. However, since this alone fell short of the required majority to become president, he was compelled to participate in the second phase of the election.
An interesting development in this election was the emergence of Sinan Ogan as the kingmaker. For the first time in the country’s century-long history, the election proceeded to the second phase, which took place on May 28, 2023. While Recep’s official status as president was still pending, the coalition supported by his party emerged triumphant. Their alliance secured a total of 323 seats out of the 600 available in the parliament, with the AK Party alone claiming 267 seats. The voter turnout rate for this election stood at 85.04%, reflecting significant public engagement.
Despite finishing in third place in the presidential election, Ogan’s endorsement was anticipated to greatly influence the candidate who secures his support, potentially tipping the balance in their favour by securing over 50% of the votes.
THE NAME OF A BIG PUZZLE IN BIDEN’S FOREIGN POLICY IS ERDOGAN
According to the American media, Recep is one of those who are repeatedly challenging the diplomatic course of the United States and Biden. According to the analysis of the Americans – while, Biden was taking the responsibility, the few heads of state or government in the world identify themselves as dictators, Recep is one of them. Addressing the opposition party in an election campaign, Recep said – they have brought Biden’s agenda. On the other hand, two years ago Biden said – they will support Recep’s opponent. Türkiye is now both America’s greatest enemy and ally, in many ways. Under the leadership of Recep, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East politics have advanced a unique policy. Which is repeatedly challenging the policies of the Biden administration.
Recep, while one of the leaders of the US-led NATO, has also maintained a close relationship with the president of the alliance’s main enemy, Russia.
At the same time, relations with China’s president, the biggest crisis in recent US policy, is also good. Recep’s Middle East policy is also not pleasant for the US.
Although it has good relations with Israel, Iran is a friend of Turkey. In recent times, the United States considers Iran to be the biggest threat to Israel’s security in the Middle East. All in all, the name of a big puzzle in Biden’s foreign policy was and will be the newly elected Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
WHY THE GLOBE IS GLUED TO TURKEY’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE?
Turkey’s current leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been in power for twenty years. While he has established connections with both the East and the West, his increasingly authoritarian rule has caused tensions with certain allies. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition candidate, had pledged to restore democracy in Turkey and enhance human rights. However, some Turks questioned whether he possessed the same global presence and commitment to security that Erdogan is known for. The events in Turkey, concerning democracy and its regional standing, hold significant implications for Europe, Asia, and global affairs as a whole. Hence, they carry great importance.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Turkey has solidified its position as a valuable diplomatic mediator. It played a role in early negotiations between the warring nations, but its breakthrough came when it brokered a crucial grain deal to facilitate Ukrainian exports through the heavily-mined Black Sea. President Erdogan prides himself on maintaining open lines of communication with various world leaders, including the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden, Russian President Putin, and Chinese President Xi. Turkey’s ability to manage multiple relationships has proven advantageous. However, the situation is not entirely positive. For instance, within the NATO military alliance, Turkish forces constitute the second-largest army. While other members readily supported the inclusion of Finland and Sweden to bolster overall security,
Turkey dissented. It slowed down Finnish membership and continued to block Sweden’s accession, citing the need for the extradition of dozens of members of the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group that has been engaged in armed conflict against Turkey since 1984. Since the initial round of voting, the status of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey has become a crucial issue. Both candidates promised to repatriate as many refugees as possible shortly after the presidential vote. However, as the run-off approaches, this topic has gained prominence, with each candidate trying to appear more hardline on the issue.
This is a concerning moment for Syrians, who fear being sent back to a country that is still unsafe for many of them. If Turkey withdraws its support, it would pose a challenge for the international community, which would have to accommodate the refugees. Turkey’s problematic history regarding rights and freedoms continues to complicate its relationship with the West. The opposition insists that it would improve the situation if it wins, emphasizing the return to democracy as one of its main campaign messages.
On the other hand, an Erdogan victory would likely mean the continuation of political prisoners remaining in custody. Turkish voters face a significant choice. While issues like the struggling economy are likely at the forefront of most voters’ minds, Turkey’s position in the world holds long-term importance. The direction taken by the next leader will shape the country’s stability and success for decades to come.
ERDOGAN EMERGES VICTORIOUS IN HISTORIC RUNOFF
In a historic runoff that will undoubtedly shape the course of Turkey’s political future, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as the clear winner of the Turkish presidential election. Following a closely contested race, the official results have unequivocally confirmed Erdogan’s victory, securing him another term as the incumbent president with 52.14% votes from the citizens. This momentous outcome not only cements Erdogan’s position as one of the most influential political figures in modern Turkish history but also carries profound implications for the country’s political landscape, both domestically and internationally.
Erdogan’s triumph in the runoff represents a continuation of his remarkable and enduring tenure in power. With his victory, he solidifies his position as the dominant force in Turkish politics, having effectively navigated numerous political challenges and maintained a strong base of support throughout his time in office. His ability to connect with a broad spectrum of voters, spanning various socio-economic backgrounds and ideological affiliations, underscores his profound influence and charismatic appeal.
Map of Results:
ERDOGAN’S MARGIN OF VICTORY
The runoff results indicate a significant margin of victory for Erdogan. Despite a closely contested race, the incumbent president managed to garner a substantial number of votes, demonstrating his continued popularity and strong support base. The margin of victory highlights Erdogan’s ability to connect with a wide range of voters and underscores the challenges faced by his opponents in the election.
IMPACT ON TURKEY’S POLITICAL FUTURE
Erdogan’s victory in the runoff has far-reaching implications for Turkey’s political future. His continued tenure is expected to solidify the ruling party’s influence and shape the direction of the country’s policies. The election outcome will likely impact various aspects of Turkey’s domestic and foreign affairs, including economic reforms, regional stability, and international relations.
REACTIONS AND RESPONSES
The outcome of the Turkish presidential election runoff has elicited a range of reactions both domestically and internationally. Erdogan’s supporters celebrate his victory as a reaffirmation of their trust in his leadership and the ruling party’s agenda. Meanwhile, critics express concerns over the consolidation of power and its potential impact on democratic processes in Turkey. The diverse reactions underscore the polarized nature of Turkish politics and the challenges of fostering unity and inclusivity.
ERDOGAN’S AGENDA FOR THE FUTURE
As Erdogan embarks on his new term as president, the focus now shifts to his agenda for the future. The election victory provides him with a mandate to address the challenges and opportunities facing Turkey. Erdogan stated that the government’s top priorities would include combating inflation and healing the fractures caused by the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and neighboring Syria on February 6 and claimed over 50,000 lives. At a rate of nearly 44% per year, inflation seeps into everyone’s existence. Due to Mr. Erdogan’s refusal to stick to orthodox economic policy and raise interest rates, the price of food, rent, and other essentials has skyrocketed. Moreover, Erdogan’s victory in Turkey’s presidential election has led to the lira slipping towards a fresh record low against the dollar.
The currency has weakened over 6% since the start of the year and lost over 90% of its value in the past decade due to economic turmoil, inflation, and a currency crisis. So, the policies and initiatives Erdogan undertakes in the coming years to deal with the challenges and strengthen Turkey’s position globally will shape the country’s trajectory and have implications beyond its borders. Eyes are on Erdogan as he navigates the complex issues and seeks to deliver on his promises to the electorate. To wrap up, as Recep Tayyip Erdogan secures his victory in the Turkish presidential election, the geopolitical dynamics of the region are expected to undergo significant shifts. Erdogan’s consolidation of power as the president, with authority over the executive branch, has raised concerns about the concentration of power and potential implications for democracy in Turkey.
Additionally, his foreign policy choices, which have challenged the diplomatic course of the US and the Biden administration, have further complicated the geopolitical landscape. Erdogan’s alliances and relationships with various countries, including Russia, Iran, and China, have positioned Turkey as both an enemy and an ally to the West. The international community will be closely monitoring Erdogan’s actions and decisions, as they will undoubtedly impact the geopolitical balance in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East. Turkey’s presidential election has garnered global attention due to the significant role Turkey plays in regional politics, making it a key player to watch in the ever-evolving geopolitical arena.