Erdogan has won the elections straight from the first round:

Turkey's long-standing leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a new five-year term after securing outright victory in the first round of a presidential poll.

Mr Erdogan got nearly 53% with almost all votes counted. His closest rival Muharrem Ince was on 31%.

However, there seems to be a discrepancy between this and opinion polls and economic context:

As Turkey heads towards an election in June it is facing a collapse in its currency that threatens to precipitate an economic crisis.

Since the start of the year, the Turkish lira has plunged about 20 percent against the U.S. dollar, although it rallied slightly this week after an interest rate hike by the Turkish central bank.

Theoretically, such an economical decline should act against the incumbent government.

Question: Is there an explanation for Erdogan winning the elections despite inconclusive polls and economic decline?

  • Do those polls include Turkish expats? Many Turkish expats support Erdogan.
    – Eremi
    Jun 26, 2018 at 19:01
  • @Eremi - I have checked several polls cited by Wikipedia and it is not clear, which I think indicate that they do NOT include Turkish expats. This can be a good explanation and can be developed into an answer.
    – Alexei
    Jun 26, 2018 at 19:08
  • I would expect a psychologist to post an answer based on Stockholm syndrome. :)
    – user15657
    Jun 27, 2018 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


Opinion polls:

The most significant error of the polls came from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which supported Erdogan in the presidential elections. Last year some MPs resigned from the MHP and founded the İyi Party. The MHP was expected to lose most of the supporters, but they preserved the votes (~11%) of the November 2015 elections.

One reason of the inaccurate polls is that this was the first ever elections under the new constitution and electoral alliances. Actually the most trusted research company, Konda, forecasted 51.9% for Erdogan. I think the result was not so surprising.

Economic decline:

Supporters of Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) think that Turkey's economy is still better than early 2000s (e.g. 2001 Turkish economic crisis). Indeed it is a true but unfair comparison due to the 1999 İzmit earthquake and the early 2000s global recession. Erdogan's supporters should have considered that AKP is very unsuccessful in the recent years. For example, GDP per capita (1960-2016) started to fall sharply after 2013.

Erdogan, AKP, and their supporters mostly blame western countries for the fall of Turkish Lira. Some people even think that voting for Erdogan is a strong reaction to western countries.

  • "Indeed as an opponent I even think so..." Yes but that is probably the result of the way that information arrived to you. The GDP curve (per capita) you've linked in your answer is the same for many, many others nations. At the turn of the century there was an economic boom. There is nothing particularly notable about Turkey's economic development. Erdogan saying otherwise is just an act of propaganda. Just use that same World Bank Data to check for yourself (link).
    – armatita
    Jun 27, 2018 at 8:45
  • @armatita The economic crisis was deeper in Turkey due to the 1999 İzmit earthquake.
    – user15657
    Jun 27, 2018 at 9:53
  • Izmit earthquake was a tragic day for Turkey and the World. But again you seem to be looking for some kind of unique phenomena that puts Turkey apart from everyone else. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Haiti suffered unimaginable death toll from natural disasters but all of them continued their positive trend in economic growth nonetheless. Uruguay had a banking crisis that put them on par with Turkey in the early 2000s (by GDPpc) and today they almost double it. I'm not trying to antagonize you but how do you expect your country to develop if you keep believing in a government sponsored fairy tale?
    – armatita
    Jun 27, 2018 at 10:25
  • 1
    @armatita There is a misunderstanding here. I say that 2018 is better than 2001, but this is not a fair comparison. I agree with your first comment. Erdogan uses this unfair comparison for his propaganda. Maybe my phrasing in the answer is not good, I'll try to update it.
    – user15657
    Jun 27, 2018 at 11:03

Yes, electoral fraud. Just look at the official "results" showing Erdoğan getting 50.5% in Istanbul and 51.5% in Ankara (the two cities account for about one-quarter of Turkey's population so these two results made a considerable contribution to overall total that gave Erdoğan a narrow first-round victory). This contrasts with the "No" vote in these cities in the 2016 referendum on the new constitution designed to hand dictatorial powers to Erdoğan of 51.5% and 51.2% - a referendum tainted by blatant ballot box stuffing so the real figures were certainly higher. However, taking these figures at face value, this was the vote of people with adequate awareness of what was entailed and who did not wish to see their country become yet another dismal Middle-Eastern dictatorship under a kleptocratic ruling dynasty, and I cannot believe that any of these people would have changed their mind in just over one year and voted for their new dictator.

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