Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins reelection in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
(Image credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reelected president of Turkey on Sunday, winning another five-year term in office which will now extend his rule of the country into a third decade.

The initial election was held on May 14, but a runoff was triggered after neither candidate garnered the requisite 50% vote needed to carry the presidency. In Sunday's runoff, Erdogan carried 52.14% of the vote, while his challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaraoglu, garnered 47.86%, according to the state-run Andalou Agency.

"The only winner today is Turkey," Erdogan said in a victory speech, per The Associated Press. Throngs of supporters cheered him on as he thanked those who voted for him, adding, "We will continue to be at the forefront of this struggle until real democracy comes to our country."

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Turkey marks its centennial in 2023, and Erdogan said he would work hard to put the country in a prime position for the next hundred years, which he described as a "Turkish century."

Erdogan was facing perhaps the greatest challenge yet to his 20 years in office, but was still able to handily win the election. His victory came despite a series of controversies that initially appeared to sour support from his base. Described by The Economist as ruling Turkey in an "increasingly autocratic style," Erdogan is often seen as one of the globe's most notable strongmen.

Erdogan has led Turkey for a generation, serving as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and as president since then. He performed well in the initial election round despite polls showing some disillusionment with his presidency. Public opinion seemed to turn sharply following his government's response to a series of earthquakes this past February that left thousands of people dead. Erdogan was criticized for the perceived slow response and lack of government help for the natural disaster.

May 28, 2023: This article has been updated with election results.

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.