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Why the elections in Turkey are so important

Kathleen Schuster
May 10, 2023

On this week’s show, we’re taking a closer look at why Turkey’s upcoming elections are set to be the most important of 2023. Turkish policy expert Asli Aydintasbas explains what’s at stake. We’ll also hear from first-time voters and voters in earthquake-hit cities. Plus, a look at Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s landmark candidacy.


On May 14, Turkish voters will cast their ballots in elections that could prove pivotal in the country’s modern history.

Long-time leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is currently facing stiff competition from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the candidate put forward by Turkey’s largest opposition alliance. Polling data has put the two neck-and-neck, raising the question of whether Erdogan’s 20-year reign will come to an end.

We’ll hear from Asli Aydintasbas, a Turkish policy expert and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., about what the big issues are for voters, and what a Turkey without Erdogan might look at home and on the world stage.

First-time voters have only known a Turkey with President Erdogan at the helm, and many are saying they want to see change on Sunday.

Plus, reporter Ylenia Gostoli traveled to Antakya and Kahramanmaras to find out whether the Erdogan strongholds are still planning on voting for the incumbent president despite the widely-criticized disaster response in the wake of two massive earthquakes that struck the region earlier this year.

We’ll also take a closer look at what role Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s faith has played in this year’s election.

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