Erdoğan Announces Turkish Elections for May 14

Turkey's Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who plans to seek re-election, stated on Saturday that Turkey’s next parliamentary and presidential elections will take place on May 14. He vowed to make the formal announcement on March 10.

Erdoğan Announces Turkish Elections for May 14
Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • Turkey's Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who plans to seek re-election, stated on Saturday that Turkey’s next parliamentary and presidential elections will take place on May 14. He vowed to make the formal announcement on March 10.
  • Originally, the elections were scheduled to be held on June 18 but that date was changed reportedly so as not to have the elections coincide with the summer holiday season.
  • Polls indicate the parliamentary and presidential elections will be close and will mark Erdoğan's biggest challenge in his two decades. He has been at the helm of Turkey's role as a regional military power, NATO member, and emerging market economy.
  • Erdoğan, who has been in office since 2003 and president since 2014, is likely to face off against a six-party opposition alliance and a pro-Kurdish third party. If no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote, a second round will be held on May 28.
  • This change of date means that the opposition will have less time to agree on a single candidate, with AFP reporting this week that their joint candidate would be appointed in February. The election campaign is expected to start on March 10.
  • Istanbul's mayor İmamoğlu, the most favored candidate in the opposition camp, has been engulfed in a legal battle after being banned from politics last month. Meanwhile, CHP's party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has so far struggled to secure the approval of the other opposition leaders.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Euro, Reuters, VOA, France24, and RFI.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Daily Sabah. There is a lot of symbolism in Erdoğan's decision to move the national and presidential election forward to a historic date, May 14. On that day in 1950, the single-party era ended thanks to a popular vote. That election marked a new beginning for Turkey, just as Erdoğan sees this election: all the campaign focus on which political system, vision, and leader will bring the country into the next century.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Intercept. Erdoğan has brought the vote forward by a month in a bid to get rid of the opposition, possibly forever, as the upcoming national election could be the last chance to prevent the country from descending into a personalist regime. While polls indicate a tight race, the "Table of Six" coalition is yet to converge around a single leader. The West should not hesitate to take bold action to help ensure that the domestic opposition gets a fair shake by considering revoking Ankara's membership in the NATO alliance.

Predictions