Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkiye's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Leader Devlet Bahceli visit quake-hit Kahramanmaras, Turkiye after the powerful twin earthquakes on February 20, 2023. Photo by Anadolu Images.

What Awaits Turkish Politics Following the Deadly Earthquake

Türkiye's upcoming election result will have seismic repercussions for the political careers of politicians on all sides of the political spectrum.

Türkiye has been struggling with earthquakes and aftershocks since February 6. The earthquakes have killed more than 40,000 people and destroyed so many buildings that people live in tents, fabric structures, or have moved to other cities. The burden on the Turkish state is enormous since besides dealing with all the repercussions of the earthquakes, the reconstruction of new houses for the victims will require an additional budget.

Meanwhile, general elections had been announced for May 14. It is currently unclear whether the elections will be postponed to their original official date (June 18) or to a later time since the earthquakes will obviously affect Turkey’s political agenda. We should note that all natural and man-made disasters trigger political debates and polarization in every country. In such unwanted and unexpected catastrophes, the responsibility is always on the ruling party as it controls the government. On the other hand, opposition parties mostly use disasters as an opportunity to expose what they see as the government’s weaknesses. Acting together with the government is a very rare occasion.

In Kahramanmaraş, the epicenter of the earthquakes, the rift between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)-led government and six opposition parties increased. The head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s biggest opposition party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, waited only a single day and then he and his party started incessant and severe criticism against the government, primarily targeting the rescue efforts. Since then, the opposition parties, media, NGOs, and electorate have launched a massive anti-government campaign to discredit President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government…


Read more on Politics Today: What Awaits Turkish Politics Following the Deadly Earthquake

[Politics Today, February 27, 2023]

In this article