President Erdogan claims this could be  his final term

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the country’s March local elections would be his last, suggesting an end to his more than two decades in power.  Turkey’s vivacious opposition press immediately dusted off old news items, when Erdogan hinted he shall retire soon, calling the claim disingenuous.


“I am working non-stop. We’re running around breathlessly because, for me, it’s a final,” said the president at a meeting of the TUGVA young Turks foundation, chaired by his son Bilal Erdogan, considered as a potential successor to his throne.


“Given the authority that the law confers on my office, this election is my last election.”

The 70-year-old leader expressed confidence that his conservative Justice and Development (AKP) party would nonetheless remain in power even after he has left office.


He said that the results of the March 31 local elections would be “a blessing for the brothers who come after me. There will be a transfer of confidence.”


The AKP is hoping to regain the mayorship of Istanbul in the elections later this month, having seen it taken by the opposition in 2019.

Erdogan was himself mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.


He was then elected prime minister in 2003 when the premier was the dominant figure in Turkish politics.


That changed when Erdogan was elected president in 2014, following three terms as prime minister.


A constitutional change in 2017 then turned Turkey from a parliamentary system into an executive presidency, abolishing the position of prime minister and ensuring that Erdogan’s grip on power remained unchanged.


Further election successes in 2018 and last year have meant that Erdogan’s often controversial rule has extended into a third decade.



According to pro-opposition website HalkTv, Erdogan’s announcements of retirement started as early as 2009, regarding his seat at the Grand Asswembly.


Erdoğan made a ‘this is my last election’ statement, referring to the parliamentary elections in 2009 and 2012. In 2022, Erdoğan said, “We are asking the nation to vote on our behalf for the last time in 2023,” referring to the May 2023 elections.


Analysts suggest his announcement is another attempt to rally the AKP voters, who are rapidly turning to ultra-Islamist rival New Welfare.  Erdogan is yet to anoint a successor.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.