The Turkish Election: What Happened, and What Does the Future Hold..?

The Turkish Election: What Happened, and What Does the Future Hold..?

Turkey's election has ended, spelling an unclear future for the nation that has the potential to reshape the entire region.


The Turkish election is over. Votes have been counted. Officially, the nation is headed to a run-off election to be held on May 28th, as stated by the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK). The final, YSK published results put Erdogan at 49.5%, and Kilicdaroglu at 44.89%. In third place was Sinan Ogan, with 5.17%. In the run-off election, only the top two candidates will be on the ballot, ensuring a winner.

Turkish President Erdogan casts his ballot in the election in Istanbul (Photo from Umit Bektas/Pool/Getty Images via AFP).

While the candidates have two weeks for further campaigning, the place where they will need to focus their efforts, is Ogan himself. Ogan has been put in a very interesting position, where he did well enough in the first round of the election that whoever he endorses for the second round, is likely to take the victory. His 5.17% is enough to push either candidate over the 50% threshold, handing them the victory.

Sinan Ogan surrounded by a number of supporters in Ankara on May 4th, 2023 (Photo from AP/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

So naturally, the question to ask would be: Who will he endorse..? Unfortunately, that is not so easy to tell. Ogan is a right-wing politician, and while Erdogan is more conservative than Kilicdaroglu, and thus aligns with him more policy wise, Ogan is no fan of Erdogan and has a distinct interest in removing him from office. Ogan himself has yet to state who he will endorse, saying him and his team are in “internal deliberations” over the matter, but has reportedly stated he may sway towards whoever is willing to offer more concessions to policies he would like to see enacted. Should Turkey’s coming election be free and fair, it is very likely that his endorsement will crown the winner.

Turkish electoral staff count ballots at a polling station in Istanbul (Photo from Reuters).

But how about the first round..? Was it fair..? The OSCE the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, had a team of observers in the election. The observers have reported that they believe the AKP (Erdogan’s Party) had an “unfair advantage”, and that the YSK showed a lack of transparency regarding election numbers. They say they noticed a distinct amount of positive coverage of Erdogan by Turkish state medias, providing them with a certain edge over their opponents when it came to campaigning.

The OSCE also offered condemnation for Turkey denying a Danish MP and a Swedish MP of credentials necessary to become an observer, calling it a “regrettable decision”.

The report further stated that Kurdish party YSP faced “widespread intimidation”, though they did not state by whom.

All in all Turkey has a very interesting time ahead, a time which has the chance to drastically change the future of Turkey. Should Erdogan be unseated, it will end his nearly 20 years of leadership, which opponents say has been marred by authoritarianism.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.
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