Turkish elections: What is at stake?

Freedom lecture with Banu Güven

Programme editor
programme editor
Karlijn Saris
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Three months after the devastating earthquakes, Turkey is gearing up for its upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14. The collapsing lira, Turkey’s connection to war-torn Syria, and discontent over authoritarian policies increase resentment among Turkish citizens. Together with award-winning journalist Banu Güven, we will discuss what is at stake.

Recent opinion polls in Turkey predict a neck-and-neck race between president Erdoğan’s AKP and The National Alliance, representing the biggest opposition bloc that includes six parties. Their political beliefs range from leftwing to rightwing and from secular to religious.

The opposition has promised to break with Erdoğan’s unorthodox foreign policies and return to a parliamentary democracy. Can they live up to this? Or will the country’s longest-serving leader, after 20 years in power, win voters’ hearts yet again?

With an intermezzo of comedian Halil Caliskan and writer and Arabist Meltem Halaceli.

About the speakers

Banu Güven, Turkish journalist and TV presenter. Due to the political situation and restrictions on press freedom in Turkey, she has continued her work in Germany since 2019. She writes, reports and comments on German public media such as WDR, DW and Arti TV in Turkey about human rights, migration policy, integration, racism, domestic and foreign policy. Güven also hosts a podcast on Kisa Dalga. In her professional career, Banu Güven has been awarded many prizes, including the German Nannen Prize for Extraordinary Journalistic Achievement 2017.

Photo credits: Konstantin Graeff

Meltem Halaceli is a Dutch writer, Turkey expert and Arabist with Turkish-Arabic roots. Halaceli was recently followed for a documentary called De Naschok van de Frontlinie (VPRO), when providing aid to her family in Turkish Antakya after the earthquakes. In 2015, Halaceli wrote her debute about her family history and is currently writing her second book.

The Freedom Lecture
Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands often take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighters like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, and Hungarian journalist Veronika Munk.


Banu De Balie
Banu GüvenJournalist