Elections in Turkey 2023, Tension Increases

The victory of Kemal Kilicdaroglu can significantly change the situation in the region, including Syria, Ukraine, relations with NATO and Russia.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan trails opposition leader days before elections | The Monkey Times

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan trails opposition leader days before elections. The gap is small and the tension is growing. The leader of the opposition is Kemal Kilicdaroglu and is ahead by 5%, the poll was conducted by Konda, Reuters reported. The elections themselves will be held this Sunday, May 14.

Polls ahead of Turkish elections

Polls show that Mr Kilicdaroglu is supported by 43.7% of voters, and Mr Erdogan by 49.3% only. Since this situation does not mean the victory of any of the candidates, the winner will be determined on May 28 during the second round of elections.

It is worth noting that for Erdogan, the upcoming elections are the biggest challenge during his 20-year political career as Prime Minister and then President. The same data of the Konda company also coincide with polls from other sociological agencies, organized both by various party structures and independent ones. Nevertheless, the intrigue remains.

Other candidates have a low percentage of the vote, but it is important to understand the mood of the voters, as this can significantly affect the results in the second round. According to a poll conducted earlier, another candidate, Sinan Ogan, had the support of 4.8% of voters. Muharrem Ince, before withdrawing his candidacy after sexual records were drained on social media, had 2.2% of voters. Most people who support them tend to vote agains Erdogan, which means opposition will most probably get more votes.

Criticism of Erdogan in Domestic Politics

Voters are most concerned about country’s faltering economy. One of the biggest problems here is inflation, which topped 80 percent last year. Another round of criticism is directed at the fact that the Turkish authorities have been very slow to respond to the problems caused by the devastating earthquake in February, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people. Of course, this natural disaster added economic problems. Political experts also point out that the mood for a change of power is especially strong among young people, who are demanding change and new energy.

Criticism of Erdogan in Foreign Policy

Many oppositionists to the incumbent president also don’t support the foreign policy and geopolitical position of Turkey. Country’s political contacts with the USA and Europe, as well as with many other NATO allies, have been tense. Erdogan has consistently strengthened cooperation with Russia, including through projects such as TürkAkım. With the implementation of this project, Turkey has acquired the ability of a trader-intermediary of Russian gas through existing and under construction gas pipelines. Turkey’s position on the “grain deal” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also ambiguous. Plus, Turkey has repeatedly hindered NATO’s expansion efforts, which could indirectly be associated with playing on the side of Putin.

Second round

The Metropoll poll also showed that a runoff was possible, with Kilicdaroglu receiving 49.1% and Erdogan 46.9%. In the second round, opposition wins with a score of 51.3%. Konda interviewed 3,480 people in 35 different local centers. Their survey has a margin of error of 2.2% at a 99% confidence level.

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