Many foreign policy analysts referred to Türkiye’s May 14 and 28, 2023 general elections as the most important elections of 2023. Experts, journalists, politicians, and communities from across the world, starting with the West, followed the election very closely, and it resulted in yet another victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the People’s Alliance, and the AK Party. President Erdoğan’s re-election was considered an unexpected development in Europe and many Western countries. That surprise stemmed from the fact that decision-makers and the public opinion in Türkiye and the West were misled or misinformed by “experts” and “pollsters.” Having been caught by surprise in the presidential election’s first round, local and foreign circles concluded that Erdoğan would win the second round by a comfortable margin. Accordingly, we witnessed a barrage of congratulatory messages as soon as Erdoğan’s victory became a certainty.
Erdoğan missing the first-round victory by a tiny margin and his ability to clinch re-election despite facing a broad coalition of rivals earned the respect of international observers. It is important to recall that many Western analysts had speculated that the Turkish president would not consent to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose. Yet the election took place in a transparent and peaceful manner. The calm that was witnessed during and after that election served to bust negative myths about Türkiye and President Erdoğan. At the same time, the West’s democratic reservations about strengthening its relations with Türkiye and negative perception of Erdoğan’s personality weakened due to the Turkish leader’s post-election statements and the professionalism of his new cabinet.