What does Erdogan’s re-election mean for Turkey-Gulf relations? (2023)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in Turkey’s unprecedented run-off on May 28 was welcomed by officials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as it would bring a sense of continuity and strengthen relations between Ankara and the bloc as well as its six members.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was the first foreign head of state to congratulate Erdogan, who has taken office for his third presidential term, and other Gulf leaders quickly followed suit, expressing their desire to bolster ties with Turkey.

Erdogan, 69, whose two-decade rule will be extended for another five years, is expected to visit the Gulf soon in a reflection of how important GCC members have been to Turkey’s foreign policy agenda.

Between now and 2028, the GCC states can expect business as usual in their dealings with Ankara.

Turkey’s strong alliance with Qatar will likely continue to deepen while Erdogan also looks to expand relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as Ankara’s rapprochement with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi continues to gain speed.

“It is likely that the Turkish-Gulf relations will continue to have a personalised nature as it has been in the past two decades,” Sinem Cengiz, a researcher at Qatar University and Arab News columnist, told Al Jazeera.

(Video) What Erdogan's win means for Turkey and the world | DW News

“Therefore, the next five years of Erdogan’s tenure are likely to bring a continuation of the personalities’ cooperation on a range of areas.”

Erdogan’s re-election was a relief to many Gulf officials because his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu would have likely changed Turkey’s foreign policy towards the GCC in ways that could have undermined their interests. Qatar, in particular, had reason to fear a downgrading of its relationship with Ankara had Kilicdaroglu won.

“The opposition candidate was convinced that Erdogan had struck certain off-the-record deals with Gulf capitals – and thus espoused very Gulf-sceptic views regularly,” Batu Coskun of the Sadeq Institute told Al Jazeera.

Economic stability

Ankara will continue placing much value on its economic, political and security ties with the wealthy GCC countries, important to Turkey’s trade and defence markets.

Closer Emirati-Turkish economic links will also provide the two countries, which have two of the Middle East’s largest economies, opportunities to unlock vast amounts of investment that can help both economies grow.

A few days after Erdogan secured another term, Turkey and the UAE ratified a cooperation agreement that aims to increase their bilateral trade to $40bn in the next five years. Thani Ahmed al-Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, tweeted: “This deal marks a new era of cooperation in our long-standing friendship.”

(Video) Erdogan hails ‘special relationship’ with Putin ahead of crucial Turkey runoff vote

Negotiations for the deal had started in 2021 when then UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visitedAnkara, paving the way for a thaw in relations after years of tension.

“The prospect of hard cash from the Gulf will continue being a major incentive for Ankara, which is facing a persistent currency crisis,” said Coskun.

“Turkey presents itself as a financial and business hub for the Gulf investors to invest in diverse sectors,” explained Cengiz. “I assume that investment in Turkey could be one of [the] areas [in which] we may see a competition among the GCC states, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

For Gulf Arab states, deeper ties with Turkey are important for their economic diversification agendas. Across a host of sectors, from entertainment to tourism and food production, Turkish companies can play an important role in helping GCC states transition away from their dependency on hydrocarbons.

Turkish firms, especially in the construction sector, have long penetrated Gulf markets and contributed to the growth of megaprojects, from airports to highways and stadiums to high-rises. Recently, a group of executives representing roughly 80 Turkish building companies met with Saudi Aramco in Ankara for discussions about $50bn of potential projects in Saudi Arabia.

What does Erdogan’s re-election mean for Turkey-Gulf relations? (1)

There is also the defence sector, with developing its indigenous defence industry a significant pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy.

“Turkey’s burgeoning defence industry could be integrated into the Saudi Vision 2030,” according to Coskun. “This could materialise in the form of joint production, technology transfer and training programmes. Major investments could see Turkish defence industry production having a leg in Saudi Arabia.”

Turkey’s relations with Syria

An important issue in Turkey-GCC relations is Syria. With Damascus having regained full-fledged membership in the Arab League last month following more than 11 years in the diplomatic wilderness, Ankara is also seeking to reconcile with President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

(Video) How Will Presidential Election Results Affect Turkey’s Regional Outlook?

But one of the factors that make an Ankara-Damascus normalisation deal tricky is the status of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria. Turkey will want some security guarantees regarding the YPG, which it considers the Syrian wing of the PKK. Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have been encouraging al-Assad’s government to accept the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) under Damascus’s sovereign control as part of the force’s integration into the Syrian state. In this sense, Gulf capitals, especially Abu Dhabi, could “add a Gulf track to the existing Moscow track which is being used to facilitate [Turkish-Syrian] talks”, said Coskun.

What does Erdogan’s re-election mean for Turkey-Gulf relations? (2)

There are important questions about how any possible future ties between Ankara and Damascus could affect the Turkey-United States alliance. Given that Washington does not want to see its allies and partners in the Middle East and North Africa recognise al-Assad as a legitimate Arab president, Washington is not likely to welcome Ankara reopening formal ties with the Syrian government.

Within this context, Turkey may benefit from certain GCC states rehabilitating al-Assad’s image first, making it less controversial from the West’s perspective for Ankara to reconcile with Syria.

Coskun told Al Jazeera that Ankara will “seek to deflect pressure from the US over normalising with al-Assad by arguing … a regional consensus over Assad’s return to the global stage”.

Rapprochement and rebuilding

Relations among countries in the Middle East and North Africa have evolved a great deal since 2020. It was not long ago that Saudi Arabia and, even more so the UAE, were on negative terms with Turkey. Conflicting interests regarding a host of crises in the post-Arab Spring period such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, as well as the 2017-2021 blockade of Qatar, caused friction between Ankara on one side and the Saudi-UAE axis on the other.

Yet, since about 2020, Turkey’s relationships with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have markedly improved.

“Erdogan is now starting a new chapter, opposite to how it was approximately 10 years ago when the Arab Spring started,” said Dania Thafer, executive director of the Gulf International Forum.

(Video) Elections in Turkey: Erdogan's moment of truth? | To the point

What does Erdogan’s re-election mean for Turkey-Gulf relations? (3)

“Now, similar to the GCC states, Ankara’s strategy is more pragmatic with economic development as a main imperative rather than politics led by ideology.

“In his last term, he rebuilt relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and will continue on that path. Turkey will likely sign several agreements in commerce, defence and security with both the UAE and Saudi Arabia among other GCC states.

“From a political perspective, rebuilding relations with Turkey is an alternative approach to counterbalancing Iranian influence in the region.”

During Erdogan’s next five years, experts argue that there is every reason to expect these rapprochements to gain even greater momentum. In particular, Turkish drone sales to these two GCC members will further strengthen relationships that began to mend a few years ago.

“Ankara-Abu Dhabi ties appear on course to continue expanding,” said Coskun. “The recent mutual ratification of the Turkey-UAE comprehensive partnership agreement is a clear indication of this. The UAE also made a significant purchase of Bayraktar TB-2 UAVs last year. Likely, Abu Dhabi will become a major market for Turkish defence industry exports.”

Coskun added that “the same prospect is true for Saudi Arabia – yet we are yet to see a sale of TB-2s to Riyadh. Given that Qatar, the UAE and most recently Kuwait made agreements to purchase the famed UAVs, Saudi Arabia appears a very likely candidate. This new period is likely to see more robust relations between Ankara and Riyadh – particularly based on the defence industry.”

(Video) Turkish President Erdogan wins runoff to secure his grip on power


Who is the new president in Turkey? ›

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has named former economy chief and internationally respected ex-banker Mehmet Simsek as treasury and finance minister as he unveiled his new cabinet.

Who is in power in Turkey? ›

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a populist with increasingly authoritarian tendencies, is scheduled to take the oath of office and start his third presidential term Saturday following his latest election win.

How is democracy in Turkey? ›

Turkey is a presidential representative democracy and a constitutional republic within a pluriform multi-party system, in which the president (the head of state and head of government), parliament, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government.

Who is the ruler of Turkey? ›

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkish: [ɾeˈdʒep tajˈjip ˈæɾdo(ɰ)an] ( listen); born 26 February 1954) is a Turkish politician serving as the 12th and current president of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as prime minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014 and as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

How many times can Turkey be president? ›

The President of the Republic's term of office shall be five years. A person may be elected as the President of the Republic for two terms at most.

How often does Turkey get a new president? ›

Turkish presidential elections are held in Turkey as part of the general elections every five years, to determine who will serve as the President of Turkey. There have been 22 elections for the President of Turkey since the establishment of the republic in 1923, electing 12 distinct Turkish citizens as president.

What rank is Turkey in powerful? ›

The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, and the thirteenth in the world, with an estimated strength of 775,000 military and paramilitary personnel in 2022.

Where is Turkey ranked in military power? ›

Turkey stands out as the most powerful country in terms of its military capacities in its region while Lebanon is the weakest, a global military strength index finds. Turkey has boosted its military power over the past year, moving up two places in the Global Fire Power's 2023 Military Strength Rankings.

Who is the most powerful empire in Turkey? ›

Ottoman Empire, empire created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia (Asia Minor) that grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries.

What is Turkey going to do in 2023? ›

Elements of the 2023 vision

Increase annual Turkish exports to $500 billion. Foreign trade volume of $1 trillion. Increase the employment rate by 10 points to a working population of 30 million. Reduce the unemployment rate to 5 percent.

Is Turkey a Republican country? ›

Type: Republic. Independence: October 29, 1923. Constitution: November 7, 1982. Branches: Executive -- president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet -- appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister).

How does Turkey make money? ›

According to the IMF, Turkey has an upper-middle income mixed-market emerging economy. The country is among the world's leading producers of agricultural products, textiles, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, construction materials, consumer electronics and home appliances.

Who is the original owner of Turkey? ›

During most of his 57 year-long life, Atatürk tirelessly worked for the happiness of the nation and the independence of the country and he emerged victorious from every battle he fought. The founder of the Republic of Turkey and unforgettable and brave leader passed away in Istanbul on 10 November 1938.

Who owned Turkey before? ›

The Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923, led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923, in the new capital of Ankara.

Who would be king of Turkey today? ›

Harun Osman, 46th Head of the House of Osman (2021–present), great-grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

Is it illegal to criticize the President in Turkey? ›

Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code deems it illegal to "Insult the President of Turkey".

What did Erdogan do for Turkey? ›

Mr Erdogan has long held close ties with Russia's Vladimir Putin and has sought a pivotal role as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine. Despite being the leader of a Nato state, he bought a Russian anti-missile defence system and chose Russia to build Turkey's first nuclear reactor.

Is it safe to go to Turkey right now? ›

Terrorism. There's an ongoing high threat of terrorist attacks in Türkiye. Most terrorist attacks have taken place in the southeast of the country, Ankara or Istanbul. On 13 November 2022, an explosion in Istiklal caddesi, central Istanbul, killed 6 people and injured many more.

How much does the president of Turkey make? ›

President of Turkey
President of the Republic of Türkiye
Formation29 October 1923
DeputySpeaker of the Grand National Assembly (1921–1961, 1982–2018) Chairman of the Senate (1961–1980) Vice President (2018–present)
Salary₺1,428,000/US$ 75,435 (2023)
13 more rows

What is the voter turnout in Turkey? ›

The voter turnout for the average of 18 parliamentary election is 81.4%; of the local elections is 78.7% and of the referendums is 83.1%. Turkey relatively has a high voter turnout rate comparing to modern democracies.

Who are Turkey strong allies? ›

Since the Cold War, Turkey's most important ally has been the United States, which shared Turkey's interest in containing Soviet expansion.

How many fighter jets does Turkey have? ›

The Turkish Air Force has received a total of 270 F-16C/D aircraft in its inventory, all of them Block 30/40/50 models. Turkey is one of five countries that locally produce F-16 fighter jets.

Who are Turkey's allies? ›

Turkey contributes to international security alongside U.S. forces in Europe, the seas bordering Somalia, and in the Mediterranean. Turkey borders Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and is a key partner for U.S. policy in the surrounding region.

Who is the number 1 ranked military in the world? ›

The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world's most dominant economic and military power.

Who has the most powerful army in NATO? ›

Armies. The biggest army in NATO, by a significant margin, is the United States Army with 485,000 regular personnel, as of 2021. The US army is followed by the Turkish Army with 260,200 personnel. Most European members of NATO have total active personnel for their armies in the tens of thousands.

Is there any US army in Turkey? ›

Location. Izmir Air Base and living in Izmir, Turkey is a hidden gem for US personnel. The NATO base is located about 15 minutes from the city of Izmir, a modern and extremely large city on Turkey's western coast with a population of approximately 3 million people.

What was the old name of Turkey? ›

The Ottoman Empire was commonly referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its contemporaries. The word ultimately originates from the autonym Türk, that is Turk, first recorded in Göktürk inscriptions of the 8th century.

Who defeated Turkish Empire? ›

The Ottoman army entered the war in 1914 on the side of the Central Powers (including Germany and Austria-Hungary) and was defeated in October 1918. Following the Armistice of Mudros, most Ottoman territories were divided between Britain, France, Greece and Russia.

What was Turkey called before the Ottoman Empire? ›

Called Asia Minor (Lesser Asia) by the Romans, the land is the Asian part of modern Turkey, across Thrace. It lies across the Aegean Sea to the east of Greece and is usually known by its ancient name Anatolia.

Can Americans retire to Turkey? ›

Turkey doesn't have a visa specifically for retirement, so you have to apply for a residence permit instead. This requirement applies to anyone who intends to remain in the country more than three months.

What is 100 years ban on Turkey? ›

With any international agreement in the world, it lasts only for 100 years. By 2023, Turkiye will be free from the tie of this agreement, and it will change the fate of the sick man of Europe. Neo-Ottoman Empire? Under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a strong man and statesman of Turkiye.

Who does Turkey have conflict with? ›

ConflictTurkey and alliesOpponents
American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–2017)Iraq Iraqi Kurdistan CJTF–OIR United States Australia Belgium Canada Denmark France Germany Jordan Morocco Netherlands United Kingdom TurkeyISIS
11 more rows

Is Turkey good country to live? ›

Pro: Low Crime Rate. Turkey is a relatively safe country, especially compared to its neighbors in the Middle East. While there are always exceptions, most of the time you can walk around without worry. For example, the US had 56% more crimes per capita than Turkey in 2021.

Is Turkey a red flag country? ›

The national flag of Turkey, officially the Turkish flag (Turkish: Türk bayrağı), is a red flag featuring a white star and crescent from its emblem. The flag is often called "the red flag" (al bayrak), and is referred to as "the red banner" (al sancak) in the Turkish national anthem.

What makes the most money in Turkey? ›

The financial sector is the most lucrative sector in Turkey, with salaries in the range of 10,000 TRY-100,000 TRY per month. Jobs in the energy sector are also among the highest paying jobs in Turkey, with salaries in the range of 9,000 TRY- 90,000 TRY per month.

What is Turkey the largest producer of? ›

Agriculture is an important sector of Turkey's economy, and the country is one of the world's top ten agricultural producers. Wheat, sugar beet, milk, poultry, cotton, vegetables and fruit are major crops; and Turkey is the world's largest grower of hazelnuts, apricots, and oregano.

Which American state produces the most turkeys? ›

Minnesota produced by far the most turkeys of any state in 2021—raising approximately 40.5 million birds (or 1.04 billion pounds) last year.

Who is the biggest Turkey seller? ›

1. Butterball. Headquartered in Garner, North Carolina, Butterball is the largest turkey company in the U.S. It slaughtered 1.304 billion pounds in 2019, a year-over-year decrease of 2.03%.

Who brought Turkey to america? ›

It's likely that the Mayans of southern Mexico were the first to domesticate turkeys, maybe 2000 years ago. Early Spanish explorers in the Americas took these domestic birds back with them to Europe, and soon turkeys were gobbling in farm yards over much of the world.

Who owns KFC in Turkey? ›

Feliks Boynuinceoglu, CEO of KFC Turkey.

Who lived in Turkey before Turkish? ›

Lovers of antiquity and the classical world know very well that Asia Minor–modern Turkey–was formerly inhabited by a variety of non-Turkic peoples. Most of these people spoke Indo-European languages and included the Hittites, Phrygians, and Luwians (Troy was probably a Luwian city).

Where did Turkish people originate from? ›

The early Turkic peoples descended from agricultural communities in Northeast Asia who moved westwards into the Mongolian Plateau in the late 3rd millennium BC, where they adopted a pastoral lifestyle. By the early 1st millennium BC, these peoples had become equestrian nomads.

What was Turkey called 5000 years ago? ›

Neolithic Age (Late Stone Age) 8,500 – 5,000 BCE

Historians call ancient Turkey Anatolia. Anatolia likely was exposed to a variety of different early cultures and ideas as a result of these mass migrations. During this period, several settlements began to develop and thrive.

Who destroyed the Ottoman Empire? ›

The Turks fought fiercely and successfully defended the Gallipoli Peninsula against a massive Allied invasion in 1915-1916, but by 1918 defeat by invading British and Russian forces and an Arab revolt had combined to destroy the Ottoman economy and devastate its land, leaving some six million people dead and millions ...

Why did Greece invade Turkey? ›

The Greek campaign was launched primarily because the western Allies, particularly British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, had promised Greece territorial gains at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, recently defeated in World War I.

Who supports Erdogan? ›

ATA Alliance Presidential candidate Sinan Ogan announced that he will support the Presidential candidate of the People's Alliance, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the second round to be held on May 28 on May 22 2023 in Ankara, Turkiye.

Who became the second president of Turkey? ›

İsmet İnönü who was elected as the second President of Türkiye by the TBMM after the death of Atatürk in 1938 also became the Chairman of the CHP.

Who became the 8th president of Turkey? ›

On 31 October 1989 Turgut Özal was elected as the eighth President of Türkiye by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM). Özal remained in the office until his death on 17 April 1993 in Ankara.

What is the surname of the first president of Turkey? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Turkish pronunciation: [mustafa kemal atatyɾk]) (1881 – 10 November 1938) founded the Republic of Turkey, and served as its president from 1923 until his death on 10 November 1938.

Who was the first president to get a Turkey? ›

Though live Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented intermittently to presidents since the Lincoln administration, the current ceremony dates to 1947, when the first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman.

Who is the longest serving president of Turkey? ›

After three stints as Prime Minister and two as President, Erdogan was already Turkey's longest-serving leader, but this time he faced the biggest challenge in his political life, as the country is facing skyrocketing inflation that led to a huge cost of living crisis.

What was Turkey before the Ottoman Empire? ›

Classical Anatolia

The classical history of Anatolia (Asia Minor) can be roughly subdivided into the classical period and Hellenistic Anatolia, ending with the conquest of the region by the Roman empire in the second century BC.

Who was the leader of Turkey in ww2? ›

Mustafa İsmet İnönü (Turkish pronunciation: [isˈmet ˈinœny]; 24 September 1884 – 25 December 1973) was a Turkish army officer and statesman who served as the second president of Turkey from 11 November 1938 to 22 May 1950, and its prime minister three times: from 1923 to 1924, 1925 to 1937, and 1961 to 1965.

Who freed Turkey? ›

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, or Mustafa Kemal Pasha until 1921, and Ghazi Mustafa Kemal from 1921 until 1934 ( c. 1881 – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish field marshal, revolutionary statesman, author, and the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first president from 1923 until his death in 1938.

What did Turgut özal do? ›

On 9 November 1989, Özal became the eighth President of Turkey elected by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the first president to be born in the Republic of Turkey rather than the Ottoman Empire.

Who became the first president of Turkey in 1923? ›

List of presidents
No.Name (Lifespan)Term of office & mandate Duration in years and days
1Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938)1923
32 more rows

Who changed the name of Turkey? ›

Turkey adopted its official name, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, known in US English as the Republic of Turkey or more commonly known as Turkey, upon the declaration of the republic on 29 October 1923. In 2021, however, via the UN, Turkey changed its spelling to Türkiye.

When did Turkey get last names? ›

The Surname Law (Turkish: Soyadı Kanunu) of the Republic of Turkey was adopted on 21 June 1934. The law requires all citizens of Turkey to adopt the use of fixed, hereditary surnames.

Who brought turkey to america? ›

It's likely that the Mayans of southern Mexico were the first to domesticate turkeys, maybe 2000 years ago. Early Spanish explorers in the Americas took these domestic birds back with them to Europe, and soon turkeys were gobbling in farm yards over much of the world.

What state consumes the most turkey every Thanksgiving? ›

Answer: Of all the states, residents of California consume the most turkey per person, but California is not one of the five. Missouri is.

Which president refused to celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday? ›

Thomas Jefferson refused to endorse the tradition when he declined to make a proclamation in 1801. For Jefferson, supporting the holiday meant supporting state-sponsored religion since Thanksgiving is rooted in Puritan religious traditions.


1. Could Erdogan lose? Shock pullout boosts Turkey opposition candidate • FRANCE 24 English
(FRANCE 24 English)
2. Erdoğan's world - Turkey and its President | DW Documentary
(DW Documentary)
3. Erdogan's Third Term: What Can We Expect?| Inside Story
(Al Jazeera English)
4. Schoenfeld: If Erdogan wins, you could see real distortions in the Turkish economy
(CNBC Television)
5. The key factors of Turkey’s presidential election | DW Business Special
(DW News)
6. Erdogan’s immediate economic concerns to overlap with foreign policy objectives: Analyst


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