Turkey elections 2023: will Recep Tayyip Erdogan be ousted - when is election, who is Kemal Kilicdaroglu?

Turkish voters are turning away from President Erdogan in the aftermath of the earthquakes which devastated the country earlier this year

Around 61 million voters in Turkey were expected to head to the ballot boxes as they decide on the future of the country's presidency.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 69, has been in power for the past nine years, but faces a tough battle to be re-elected. Support is galvanising in favour of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

It comes after multiple deadly earthquakes hit the country, with many questioning Erdogan's investment in infrastructure and blaming poor enforcement of construction rules for the devastation caused by the quakes.

The support for Kilicdaroglu has strengthened even further after another candidate dropped out of the race. Polling in country has the two candidates neck-and-neck in the race for the presidency.

When are the Turkey elections 2023?

The Turkish public will begin casting their votes on Sunday 14 May. They will vote in presidential elections as well as electing 600 members of parliament to the Grand National Assembly.

The elections are conducted using a two-round system, meaning that - if needed - the election will progress to a run-off vote between the highest two candidates from the first round of voting. A second round of voting will take place if the 50% threshold is not met by any candidates - which would happen on 28 May.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be on his way out of the Turkish Presidency as voters head to the polls. (Credit: Getty Images)Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be on his way out of the Turkish Presidency as voters head to the polls. (Credit: Getty Images)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be on his way out of the Turkish Presidency as voters head to the polls. (Credit: Getty Images)

What are the timings?

The polls opened at 8am local time (6am GMT) in Turkey. Voting closed at 5pm (3pm GMT).

However Reuters reports that under Turkish laws the reporting of any results is banned until 9pm (7pm GMT). The picture will not likely become clear until later in the night.

Will Erdogan lose the Turkish presidential election?

Although he has been in power since 2014, the tide appears to be turning against President Erdogan. It comes after the country battled in the aftermath of the huge earthquakes which devastated part of the country and neighbouring Syria.

His government's investment in infrastructure was criticised, when buildings across the central and southern regions of Turkey collapsed and at least 50,000 people were killed. The country has since plunged into an economic crisis.

In addition to this, Erdogan has increasingly become more conservative and championed an authoritarian regime. Press freedom has steadily declined in the country, while the leader has moved further and further away from the West.

Whether this has a big enough impact to stop his re-election remains to be seen. However, his biggest competition Kemal Kilicdaroglu has certainly been happy to pick the votes from those who have lost faith in Erdogan.

Turkish polling company Konda have placed Erdogan on 43.7%, while Kilicdaroglu sits just above on 49.3% of the vote. While Kilicdaroglu appears to have the lead in the polls, his current 49.3% will not be enough to meet the 50% threshold, meaning that he and Erdogan could be heading for a run-off vote.

Who is Kemal Kilicdaroglu?

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, is the leader of the centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP), a role he has held for 13 years. The former civil servant has also been the leader of the opposition in Turkey for that period.

Kilicdaroglu is the antithesis of Erdogan in terms of politics. He has pledged that he will overturn many of Erdogan's policies if elected to the presidency.

Why did Muharrem Ince pull out?

His campaign has also received a boost after fellow candidate, Muharrem Ince, pulled out of the race three days before the ballot. Ince had been criticised for splitting the votes of the centre-left six-party National Alliance, meaning that his votes will now likely be transferred to Kilicdaroglu.

Speaking of his resignation, Ince said: “I am doing this for my country.” He added that his party, the Homeland Party, would still be on the ballot for the parliamentary elections.

However, it also emerged that an alleged sex tape was the real reason for his withdrawal. Commenting on this, Ince said the footage circulating online was a deepfake, using video taken from “an Israeli porn site”.

He added: “If I had such images of myself, they were taken secretly in the past. But I do not have such an image, no such sound recording. This is not my private life, it’s slander. It’s not real.”

Related topics: