Turkey’s president hinted on Saturday that he would seek office for the last time next year, saying it was time to hand the baton over to “young people”.
During a speech in Samsun, a city in northern Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “Hopefully, in 2023, we will start the construction of the Turkish century with the strength we will receive from our nation’s support for the last time on our behalf”.
“We will hand over this sacred flag to our young people,” he added.
Turkey is due to hold nationwide elections in 2023.
Erdoğan’s AKP party is looking to stay in charge, having been in power since 2003. However, they have taken a battering in the polls over recent economic turbulence, which is perceived by experts as being down to government mismanagement.
Record-breaking inflation and a collapsing lira in recent years have been a worry for many Turks, who have seen their standard of living plummet.
Speaking on Saturday, Erdoğan said that his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had made Turkey a key player on the world stage.
“We have not only been solving age-old problems for 20 years,” he said. “We have established a service infrastructure that even developed countries envy. Now, they say Turkey is a really different country. Every global crisis is conducive to a better understanding of our country’s power.”
In October, the Turkish Statistical Institute reported that inflation hit a 24-year high of 85.51%, though many have claimed the real rate is likely even higher.
Meanwhile, the exchange value of the Turkish lira has collapsed over the past few years, increasing the costs of imported goods and undermining the spending power of businesses and homes.
In September 2021, 1 US dollar was worth around 8 Turkish lira, yet by October 2022 this has lept to nearly 19.
During the speech delivered at the opening ceremony of Vezirköprü State Hospital, Erdoğan highlighted his track record.
“We saw the strength of our employment capacity at a time when there was talk of shrinkage in the economy. In the energy crisis, we saw the power of our investments to mobilize our opportunities at the highest level. In each crisis, we furthered our potential to seize new opportunities, relying on our own strength,” he said.
In October, Erdoğan reiterated his long-standing wish to prepare a new Turkish constitution that would be “democratic, simple and visionary”.
This project had been perceived by some observers as a desire to amend the limit of two presidential terms maximum, provided for by the Turkish constitution.
“Every choice is a crossroads,” said Erdoğan, referring to the forthcoming election. “Our nation has made us the first in 15 elections and used its will to move forward on the way to a great and powerful Turkey.”
“Of course, a person who has been running the country for so many years may have shortcomings and mistakes,” he added.