A Torn Country: Erdoğan’s Turkey and the Elections of 2023


This article examines the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey’s 2023 presidential election, the role of fear-oriented populist nationalism in Turkish politics, and the implications of the results for society. It argues that Turkey faces a deep moral and social crisis rather than a mere political problem. The article explores the sociocultural origins of polarization, as competing communities with few shared values contribute to divisions. It also analyzes the formation and ideologies of the People’s Alliance and the Nation Alliance, the two major blocs involved in the 2023 elections, providing insights into their visions for Turkey. Last, the article scrutinizes the cult of the strongman, the widespread use of nationalism and religion, the utilization of state resources by Erdoğan’s administration, and the influence of media—largely controlled by Erdoğan—on public opinion. This includes investigating the impact of alternative truths and narratives on the electoral process. The analysis highlights the deep-rooted moral bankruptcy Turkey faces in the third decade of Erdoğan’s rule.

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