What Do the Election Results Mean for Ankara’s Foreign Policy?

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What Do the Election Results Mean for Ankara’s Foreign Policy?

13th June 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

On 28th of May, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the second round of the Turkish presidential elections, thereby securing another 5 years in office. While Mr Erdogan claims that “the entire nation of 85 million won”, many are suggesting that Turkey remains divided. Having ruthlessly controlled the media during the election campaign, there are particular fears that an Erdogan victory will lead to yet further crackdowns on freedom of speech and on those who opposed him.

So will Mr Erdogan be able to unite the country or will his victory polarise Turkish society even more? What are the implications of his victory internally for Turkey’s trajectory, and externally for relations between Ankara and the West? And what are the implications for various regions in which Turkey is increasing its presence, notably the Western Balkans?

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to gather a panel of experts to discuss this important topic and give their views on Turkey’s future direction.



Yusuf Erim is TRT World’s Editor at Large. He is the former assistant director of public relations at the Federation of Turkish American Associations. Yusuf also spent 8 years as the head of the English news desk at Turkey’s leading financial data provider Foreks News agency. He has lectured on Turkish foreign policy at many universities and think tanks, written several articles published in Jerusalem Post, The National Interest, Middle East Eye and Daily Sabah and has given comments and interviews to CNN, Al Jazzera, BBC, France24, Russia Today, CGTN, Press TV i24, The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Independent on Turkish foreign policy and developments in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.


This photo is a property of Ziya Meral


Dr Ziya Meral is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute with its International Security Studies programme, a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Navy’s Strategic Studies Centre and a Senior Associate Fellow of the European Leadership Network. He is also co-founder and an associate of the Climate Change and (In)Security Project, a joint initiative of UK Army and the University of Oxford, exploring impact of climate change on defence and security. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the British Institute in Ankara, a member of the Advisory Council of INFORM – an educational charity conducting research on religions and sects, and the Phoenix Community Care, a London based charity focusing on foster care, support and accommodation for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors.

Dr Meral is a frequent commentator in international and British media, including live television interviews on Al Jazeera, France 24, MSNBC, BBC and others. He travels widely to lecture and deliver talks at leading diplomatic and academic institutions and conferences around the world. These have included expert talks at the UK Houses of Parliament, the U.S. Congress, US State Department, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Ministry of Defence, the EU Commission, the West Point Military Academy, Seoul Defence Forum and the NATO Defense College.

He holds a 1st Class BA Hons from Brunel University in London, MDiv from International School of Theology in the Philippines, a MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and a PhD in political science from the University of Cambridge. He studied Russian Literature at Ankara University and undertaken short-term studies and research in a wide range of countries, including Iran, Egypt, China, Canada, Nigeria, Israel, Turkey, USA and Jordan.

Dr Meral worked as a human rights advocate with a focus on religious freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, ran advocacy campaigns and lobbied various governments on individual cases and thematic issues. During 2010-2011, he was a Joseph Crapa Fellow at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in Washington DC, conducting research on ethno-religious violence.

Dr Meral is an author of several books, including How Violence Shapes Religion: Belief and Conflict in Africa and Middle East, published by the Cambridge University Press in 2018.



Dr Vuk Vuksanović is a senior researcher at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy and an associate at LSE IDEAS; a foreign policy think tank within the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He got his PhD in international relations at the LSE on the Serbian balancing act between Russia and the West, which is converting into a book. His primary focus of research is on great power politics, primarily in the Balkans. He has written for academic and policy journals in the UK, the US and the EU. He is a regular commentator for Serbian and international media on Balkan and international affairs. In March, Vuk went to Turkey to conduct field research into Turkish foreign policy towards the Balkans – the findings of which will be published in an upcoming report of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.



Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.  She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.

Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.





The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to welcome Yusif Erim, Dr. Vuk Vuksanovic, and Dr. Ziya Meral to discuss the aftermath of the Turkish Elections and the impact Erdogan’s continuing presidency will have on Turkey’s foreign policy and already divided society. Yusuf Erim started off by speaking about the fracturing of the opposition due to the election loss and the effects this may have on domestic policies. He argued that Turkish foreign policy will be defined by Erdogan’s attempts at legacy building. He predicts Erdogan to make internal project endeavors including earthquake recovery and refugee relocation domestic priorities. Additionally, he stressed that Erdogan would be keen to make external diplomacy ventures with regards to the war in Ukraine and maritime issues with Greece. Next, Dr Vuk Vuksanović spoke about the importance of Turkish autonomy, the significance of their membership in NATO, and the need to consider the Balkans within the rubric of Turkish foreign policy. He asserted, based on his fieldwork research in Turkey, that the consensus was that the recent election would not prompt significant change in the sphere of national diplomacy. He maintained that the powerful legacy of Ataturk would endure through Erdogan’s presidency. Finally, Dr Ziya Meral argued that the election would likely represent continuity for the UK, EU and NATO. He claimed that Erdogan’s victory was the “easier” option, as now international actors can expect a more consistent trajectory, as opposed to a possibly “turbulent” Kilicdaroglu presidency.



13th June 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


United Kingdom + Google Map


Yusuf Erim, Dr Ziya Meral, Dr Vuk Vuksanović


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