Joshua Levkowitz

17 May 2023

Whoever wins, the refugees will lose

President Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) did better than predicted in Sunday’s elections. The AKP is the largest party in the Turkish parliament and Erdoğan looks likely to win the presidential run-off on 28 May, to the disappointment of anyone who was hoping that his twenty-year rule might be approaching its end. For many of the four million Syrians living in Turkey, however, the results came as a relief. Erdoğan’s expected victory ‘gives them a sense of reassurance’, according to Ghazwan Koronful, a Syrian lawyer who lives in the Turkish port of Mersin. More than 200,000 Syrians have been naturalised as Turkish citizens under Erdoğan’s government. One of them, Rana al-Masri, told me on Monday: ‘Yesterday I voted at 36, this was my first actual vote and it felt great.’ For those who have not been naturalised, the relief may be short-lived.

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