Turkey’s May 14 Elections in Middle Eastern Media 2023

Middle Eastern media are interested in the Turkish elections. Turkey’s role in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and the Gulf makes the election outcomes important. On May 14, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led the first round of Turkish elections with 49.5%, Kılıçdaroğlu with 44.88%, and Sinan Oğan with 5.2%.

Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won the first round and are likely to win the runoff on May 28. Erdoğan’s runoff victory would have a greater impact on regional politics than Kılıçdaroğlu’s, who has pledged to withdraw Turkish forces from Northern Syria, Libya, send millions of Syrian refugees back to Syria, and join the West’s sanctions against Russia.

Aljazeera reported that Turkey held elections amid a severe economic crisis and a February 6 earthquake. It noted that President Erdoğan won earthquake-hit provinces such as Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, Elazığ, Gaziantep, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Şanlıurfa. “Citizens in these areas know that only Erdoğan can fix this damage,” the news source added.

Aljazeera called nationalist Sinan Oğan a “kingmaker” in the runoff. “If I weren’t running for the presidency, Erdoğan would have given his victory speech last night,” Oğan said, referring to May 14. Aljazeera agreed with Oğan that the Nation Alliance made “wrong decisions” and failed to gain the Turkish people’s trust.

Turkey has changed, and al-Assad in Syria will have to adapt.

Mohammed Kawwas, a Skynews Arabia writer from the UAE, commented that “what comes after elections in Turkey is different from what is before, and al-Assad in Syria will have to deal with whoever is elected as a president in Turkey, although Damascus prefers Kılıçdaroğlu.”

Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news site, reported Syrians in Northern Syria support Erdoğan over Kılıçdaroğlu because the latter aims to deport refugees back. In Kurdish-majority regions, they prefer Kılıçdaroğlu.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi noted in an editorial that democracy and the democratic system won the Turkish elections, the most important Muslim-majority election.

The voting rate of 88.92% inside Turkey and 51% among Turks in the diaspora shows that Turkish democracy is strong, especially considering the diminishing voter engagement in Western democracies. The newspaper website reported that all parties agreed the Turkish elections went well.

The publication emphasized that two leaders of the opposition group, the Nation group or the Table of Six, had previously worked for the AK Party, demonstrating the power of Turkish democracy.

The newspaper said that the AK Party lost MPs in Istanbul and Ankara, with Turkish voters sending conflicting messages: they trusted the party but noted its shortcomings. The essay concluded that Turkish democracy triumphed and all Western media descriptions of Erdoğan as a “dictator” or “second Putin” were false.

Al-Ahram newspaper in Egypt noted that French, American, and British media outlets were so interested in the Turkish elections because Turkey connects Asia with Europe, overlooks two of the world’s most important straits, the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and has access to the Mediterranean, Black, and Aegean Seas.

This has allowed Turkey to play a major role in foreign policy, strategic investments, and regional military, security, and economic issues.

Al-Ahram called Turkey a “pivotal country” with crucial political, military, economic, and intellectual characteristics that make it powerful in the area and attract big world powers. A critical state’s alliances and hostilities impact global political power.

Media and citizens were interested in Turkish politics and elections. Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria watched the May 14 election results. Turkey’s expanding influence in the Middle East is constantly followed by politicians, media, and the people.

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