May 26, 2023
On May 14, 2023, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faced the most challenging test of his political career from a multi-party coalition led by social democrat and reformer Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. The diverse coalition Kılıçdaroğlu represents, known as the Table of Six, is united by one cause: removing Erdogan from power and ending the country’s authoritarian turn.
The challengers were optimistic, given the multiple crises facing Turkey that Erdogan has struggled to manage: rampant inflation, mass migration of refugees from the Syrian Civil War, and last February’s devastating earthquake.
Despite these challenges, Erdogan did better than many expected and pushed the election to a runoff, which is set to be held on May 28.
At stake, according to Kılıçdaroğlu and his supporters, is nothing less than democracy itself in Turkey.
On this episode, Dan Richards and the Center for Middle East Studies' Alomran postdoctoral scholar Fulya Pinar speak with experts on the ground in Turkey about the stakes of this election and why the race is so incredibly close. They also explore how anti-immigrant politics is driving many Turkish voters in a way it never before has, with ramifications that will extend far beyond this election.
Learn more about Fulya Pinar’s research on the experience of undocumented immigrants in Turkey
Guests on this episode: