Uncertainty prior to Turkiye run-off presidential election

By May 18, 2023

Turkiye (MNN) — Most people expected by now that we would have a winner from Turkiye’s presidential election last weekend. That was not the case. For the first time, Turkiye is holding a run-off election after neither presidential candidate earned over half the votes.

Some thought current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan would make a clean sweep for re-election. Others thought the crumbling economy and earthquake controversies meant Turkiye was primed for new leadership with Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Now? It’s anyone’s guess.

Bruce Allen with FMI says, “There is a bit of this uncertainty. People are left dangling in the country, and that uncertainty is having ripple effects. Even across the economy, stocks and bond prices fell on Monday after the inconclusive vote and the inflation rate is running out of hand.”

(Photo courtesy of Olga Subach/Unsplash)

In terms of the religious landscape, Erdogan promotes Turkiye’s Islamic values and has become increasingly authoritarian.

Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, presents a different perspective outside the norms of Turkiye’s Muslim population as he is Alevi. Allen explains, “Alevis are not considered Muslims by the Sunni Muslim population — and that’s what most Turks are. They generally would not consider Alevis to be Muslim. Alevis do not pray five times a day, they do not observe Ramadan, nor do they go on a pilgrim pilgrimage to Mecca. So there are some striking differences between Sunni Islam and Alevis.

“The Alevi faith is essentially a combination, as far as I can see, of Gnosticism, Islamic Sufism, and elements of Christianity. So because of those quasi-Christian elements of the religion — and because they too, like Christians, are a minority in the country — Alevis are much more moderate in their relations to Christians.”

Especially from a religious perspective, Allen says, “The outcome of this election can have great significance.”

The run-off election will be on May 28. But FMI Christian leaders in Turkiye report there’s a sense of exhaustion and even hopelessness among some.

Allen says, “That hopelessness has been an intriguing aspect for our church planters and disciple makers to be working in, because people are saying, ‘Where can we find hope? Where is our stability and our anchor?’ And they’re able to respond, ‘It’s only in Jesus Christ. Politics will not be our salvation. Jesus is.’”

As the nation endures another week and a half of political speculation, our Turkish Christian brothers and sisters have a simple request: “Pray for the people of Turkiye to yearn for the truth.”

Also, Allen says, “They’ve asked that whoever wins, pray that the government’s decisions [and] practices will not interfere with the work of the Church.”



Header photo courtesy of Element5 Digital/Pexels.

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