Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is facing an unprecedented situation: he is incapable of gaining the confidence of more than 50% of Turkish voters.
Erdoğan has won only 49.51% of the total number of votes in his country’s presidential elections.
This opened the door for an election runoff that will be held on May 28, against his main rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Cause of failure
Deteriorating economic conditions in Türkiye, rising inflation and growing unemployment have had a significant impact on the popularity of the Turkish President.
As a result, Erdoğan failed in deciding the outcome of the presidential elections, for the first time in his political history.
Erdoğan used to decide election results from the first round in the past two decades.
Analysts attribute Erdoğan’s declining popularity to his interference in economic policies and his repeated lowering of the key interest rate since September 2021.
They also cite his intervention to impose more control by replacing the Central Bank governor and finance minister in 2021, criticizing high interest rates as contrary to Islamic teachings.
The moves made by the president, the analysts say, have exacerbated the gap between the rich and poor, which ultimately led to the collapse of the currency and the increase in poverty rates.
The economic and social measures taken by the Turkish president, his quest to attract more investments, promote trade with Arab Gulf countries, and other measures to support the economy served as a lifeline for him, raising his popularity after he was lagging behind in opinion polls just before the presidential elections.
The runoff will undoubtedly witness a fierce competition between Erdoğan and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, especially since for the first time the opposition faces the incumbent Turkish president.
Türkiye’s political parties have never been united like this before.
They took advantage of the mistakes made by the Turkish president since the failed coup attempt against him in July 2016 and February 2023, in which over 48,000 people died.
The developments that followed the coup attempt also caused huge economic damage in Türkiye.