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Turkey’s Erdoǧan Wins Fifth Five-Year Term as President

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: June 1, 2023
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoǧan delivers his victory speech outside the presidential complex in Ankara, Turkey, after he was declared the winner in the second round of the presidential election on May 28, 2023. (Image: Video still/Thomson-Reuters)

President Tayyip Erdoǧan emerged victorious in the runoff vote against challenger Kemal Kilicdaroǧlu, securing another five years as leader of Turkey.

The victory extends Erdoǧan’s two decades in power. It gives him the mandate to pursue increasingly authoritarian policies with a nationalist, Islamic tinge while strengthening his position as a strategic critical military player.

Official results showed Kilicdaroǧlu won 47.9% of the votes to Erdoǧan’s 52.1%, pointing to a deeply divided nation in the Middle East and the world at large.

During his victory speech on May 28, atop a bus in Istanbul, Erdoǧan thanked his jubilant supporters and assured them that Turkey was the only true winner of the elections. 

“We said that we will win in a way that no one will lose,” the president said. “That’s why Turkey is the only winner today.”

Yet, critics say that Erdoǧa’s policies are setting Turkey up for economic disaster.  


The election had been seen as one of the most consequential yet for Turkey, with the opposition confident of unseating Erdoǧan and reversing his policies after the country was struck by a cost-of-living crisis which critics blame on unorthodox economic policies and left him vulnerable.

Erdoǧan appeared to have prevailed despite years of economic turmoil, with the economy in the grip of boom-and-bust cycles and rampant bouts of inflation, which he said was the most urgent issue for the country but which he also said his cabinet could handle.

“Solving the problems caused by the price increases as a result of inflation and compensating for welfare losses is the most urgent issue of the process ahead,” Erdoǧan said outside the presidential complex in Ankara on May 28. It is not difficult for us to find a solution to these issues.”

Erdoǧan indicated that inflation would fall, based on an implemented policy rate cut to 8.5 percent from 19 percent two years ago.

“Confidence and stability are the most important things, and we will continue with these principles,” he said to his supporters. “We will build a strong economy around these rules.”

Nonetheless, the Turkish lira has slumped around 7 percent since the start of the year and lost more than 90 percent of its value over the past decade.

‘The most unfair election in recent years’

But despite the towering frustration among the opposition, they failed to turn the tide, and Erdoǧan seems to have emerged from the fray even more robust and able to pursue megalomaniacal plans in security, domestic, economic, and strategic areas. as a full-fledged NATO boasting the second-biggest army of the union.

“We experienced the most unfair election in recent years,” Kilicdaroǧlu said. “All the means of the state were mobilized for a political party. All possibilities were laid under one man’s feet,” he added.

Kilicdaroǧlu, despite calling the elections unfair, did not dispute the outcome. On the contrary, he called on his supporters to continue the “struggle for democracy, for your children, for the retirees, for our mothers and fathers, for our farmers and tradesmen.”

“In this election, the will of the people to change an authoritarian regime emerged despite all the pressures,” Kilicdaroǧlu said. 

“We will continue our struggle on all fronts with all members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the National Alliance. We will remain at the forefront of this struggle until real democracy comes to our country.”

Reuters contributed to this report.