Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won a third presidential term in May 2023 in a close race that constituted the opposition’s best chance ever to defeat the long-serving president at the polls. The election was neither free nor fair, but it was real. Erdoğan coupled sophisticated strategies with ethnoreligious themes to win the race against a backdrop of rampant inflation and disastrous relief efforts following the massive earthquakes that struck Turkey in early 2023. The opposition rallied behind a joint candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, but failed to capitalize on Erdoğan’s vulnerabilities. Their campaign remained weak and uncoordinated, giving little reason to long-time Erdogan supporters to defect.
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