Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday pointed to May 14 — a month earlier than he had initially indicated — for Turkey’s crucial dual presidential and parliamentary elections, ending months of speculation on the timeline for snap polls.
The polls, called “the most important election of 2023” by Bloomberg Opinion columnist Bobby Ghosh, are one of the biggest challenges to Erdogan and his conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) in its two decades of power. The outcome of the tight race will determine whether the country moves toward a more secular and liberal course at home and more predictable foreign policy abroad, or remains with Erdogan’s authoritative policies, forceful diplomacy and unorthodox economic policies. “What happens in Turkey doesn’t just stay in Turkey,” Ziya Meral, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, said. “Turkey may be a middle power, but the great powers have a stake in its election.”