Türkiye has concluded a long and challenging election period.
In the second round of the presidential elections on May 28th, the incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was reelected, receiving 52.18% of the votes. The other candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 47.82% of the votes.
Following Erdoğan’s election victory, congratulatory messages came from many countries including the US and Russia.
Meanwhile, in the main opposition party CHP, the loser of the election, debates over the election results have begun.
Erdoğan reelected as president once again
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the incumbent president, was elected as the president once again by receiving 52.18% of the votes in the presidential elections on May 28th. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the Nation Alliance under which the opposition parties united, received 47.82% of the votes.
The election run-off began on May 14th with the first round of the presidential the parliamentary elections.
In the first round on May 14th, Erdoğan, the candidate of the People’s Alliance, received 49.52% of the votes while Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the Nation Alliance 44.88%, and Sinan Oğan, the candidate of the Ata Alliance 5.17%.
Sinan Oğan declared his support for Erdoğan in the second round.
On the other hand Ümit Ozdağ, the leader of the Victory Party, a major component of the Ata Alliance, called on voters to vote for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Doğu Perinçek, the leader of the Vatan Party, was another leader who declared support for Erdoğan in the second round.
As the two candidates headed to the second round, they turned towards a nationalist discourse to gain nationalist/secularist/Kemalist votes, which held a decisive role for the seond round.
In Erdoğan’s election campaign, propaganda films highlighting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were displayed.
Kılıçdaroğlu, through the election protocol he signed with Ümit Özdağ, the leader of the Victory Party, deviated from his previous statements and accepted conditions such as not amending the first four articles of the Constitution (which includes the definition of “Turkishness”) and appointing trustees to municipalities associated with terrorism.
Although the Green Left Party, formerly Peoples’s Democratic Party (HDP), which is currently facing a closure case due to its connection with the PKK terrorist organization, held an emergency meeting of the central committee, did not give up supporting Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round.
Leading up to the elections, the issue of Syrian, Afghan, and Pakistani refugees, officially estimated to be over 3 million and unofficially estimated to exceed 10 million, became one of the primary topics.
Kılıçdaroğlu announced that he would send the refugees back to their countries within two years, while the Erdoğan made statements about “dignified return” of the refugees.
Despite the tense atmosphere, except minor fights at the polling stations, the second round of the elections was completed in peace.
Receiving the votes of approximately 27,133,849 voters, Erdoğan was reelected as the president. The voter turnout was 86.98%.
Congratulatory messages to President Erdoğan from the world
Being reelected as president, Erdoğan received congratulations from the world.
The congratulations from the US and European Union countries, which had pursued policies against Erdoğan prior to the election, attracted public attention.
Directorate of Communications published the countries that sent congratulatory messages to Erdoğan. (Here is the complete list.)
Controversies over election results in the opposition
The CHP faced harsh discussions following their defeat in the elections despite their broad alliance it managed to build.
Some groups of CHP voters protested in front of the party’s headquarters in Ankara after Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not say anything about his resignation in his post-election speech.
The lack of a statement from Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu about resigning in his post-election speech led to some groups of CHP supporters staging protests in front of the party’s headquarters in Ankara.
Furthermore, there continue to be calls for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s resignation from media outlets and writers close to the CHP.
According to leaked information from a meeting of the party’s leadership after the elections, “During the midnight meeting, members of the Central Executive Board expressed their collective willingness to resign. In response to the suggestion of resignation Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said, ‘There is no need for it at the moment.’ … It is claimed that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu could remain as the chairman of the party until the local elections in March 2024.”
In a statement regarding the matter, CHP Deputy Gürsel Erol said the following:
“Even we, being relatively younger, managed to withstand the 60-70-day election campaign thanks to the help of medical treatments. But our party leader, despite his age, displayed a tremendous performance. We will never question our leader’s leadership, we will stand by our leader, support him, and will not allow any chaos or concerns to be created within the party.”
İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is in the talks of being a rival for Kılıçdaroğlu for the chair.
“Diken” website makes the following assessment on the matter:
“The biggest concern for those close to İmamoğlu at this stage is the possibility of a political ban on him. Erdoğan’s reference to Istanbul in his election victory speech sparked comments like “he sees İmamoğlu as a rival and, if he dares, he may try to hinder him”.
In the event of a potential political ban, if delegates of the CHP also take a stance in favor of İmamoğlu, another figure will temporarily be in the leading role until that ban expires.”
Among the possible candidates for the leadership of the CHP, there are Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, Tanju Özcan, and Gürsel Tekin.
Other than that, there is also criticism within the CHP that the party should embrace a more Kemalist and nationalist policy.