“Turkey Goes to the Polls: What Lies Ahead for Its Relations with the EU?”, Elif Cemre Besgür (IAI, Italy)

Almost 62 million Turkish citizens will elect 600 parliamentarians and one President, potentially also several Vice Presidents, on 14 May. Four presidential candidates are standing for election: against incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been ruling the country for two decades, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is the candidate of the main opposition alliance, the so-called “Nation Alliance”. However, both Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu are facing a challenger from within their own camps. On the right, ultra-nationalist Sinan Oğan may draw conservative votes from Erdoğan. On the left, Kılıçdaroğlu faces competition from Muharrem İnce. As a result, no presidential candidate might be able to secure a majority of votes in the first round, which would pave the way for a second round on 28 May. With regard to EU-Turkey relations, the election results will determine future levels of conflict and cooperation between Ankara and Brussels. While Erdoğan’s re-election may move the country further away from the EU, Kılıçdaroğlu could put Turkey back on the path of democratisation. 

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