Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey’s presidential election in the second round on May 28, 2023. It is his third such victory, this time with a majority of 52.1 percent of the vote. It makes Erdogan the longest-serving leader in Turkish political history. The other candidate on the ballot, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, received the other 47.8 percent of the vote, a result that cannot be overlooked on the national political level.
“With this victory,” the president commented, “Turkey’s century has opened,” referring to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, which will be celebrated on October 29.
The first round of elections had taken place on May 14, when the president had prevailed over his principal opponents, by about 4.5 percentage points, but without reaching the required 50 percent threshold. Parliamentary elections were held in association with the first round of voting, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was confirmed as the country’s leading political force, winning 268 seats out of 600, thus achieving a majority of 322 in coalition with two smaller nationalist parties. Fears of large-scale fraud proved unfounded in both the first and second rounds, and there were no significant incidents of violence at the polling stations.