EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On June 24, Turkey will hold its sixth presidential election in four years. The Turks will choose between augmenting what is practically one-man rule based on Islamist politics and returning to a regime based on the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has not lost a single election since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002. On June 24, the Turks will go to the ballot box for the sixth time in four years. Because the people show signs of weariness over a plummeting national currency and slowing economy, and at a time when an opposition figure is gaining popularity, Election 2018 has the potential to be a bigger-than-expected challenge to a politician who has remained unchallenged for the past 16 years.
In a referendum on April 16, 2017, the Turks narrowly voted in favor of landmark constitutional amendments that gave the country’s president almost limitless powers without effective checks and balances. Under the changes, the president would be head of state, head of government, and head of the ruling party, all at the same time. He would be able to rule by decree. Turkey would hold presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019.