President Erdogan meets earthquake survivors from Kahramanmaras in March 2023.

When two powerful earthquakes struck southern Türkiye in February, killing more than 50,000 people, national and international analysts predicted that the disaster would hurt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chances of reelection on May 14.

But the election results proved them dead wrong. Erdogan and his People’s Alliance won handily in many of the quake-hit provinces, including the disaster’s epicentre Kahramanmaras, and other badly damaged provinces, such as Malatya, Gaziantep, Osmaniye, Kilis and Hatay.

Out of 11 provinces affected by the earthquakes, Erdogan and his AK Party were ahead in eight provinces in both presidential and parliamentary elections while Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance and the leftist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader were well ahead only in Adana and Diyarbakir.

First round results in quake-hit areas

In Hatay, Kilicdaroglu got a slim lead in the presidential election while the AK Party still received much more votes than the CHP in the parliamentary election, getting 34 percent against 28 percent of Kilicdaroglu's party.

President Erdogan has paid many visits to earthquake-hit cities, quickly launching a big building project across quake-hit regions, where tens of thousands of structures have either collapsed or severely damaged.

The Erdogan government plans to build 650,000 housing units which include 143,000 village houses across rural areas, where the earthquakes led to a great deal of damage to both people’s lives and properties.

The government has pledged to deliver at least 319,000 housing units to people within a year and thousands of container houses were also deployed into earthquake areas to meet people’s sheltering needs.

In this sense, Ankara’s growing efforts to improve earthquake victims’ living conditions have appeared to bear fruit with election results significantly favouring the Erdogan-led alliance and the AK Party in the most-destructed provinces.

Let’s look at how these heavily-hit provinces voted on May 14:


This Mediterranean province with more than a million population, whose districts Pazarcik and Elbistan were the two epicenters of the back-to-back earthquakes on February 6 with the magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6 respectively, was a clear victim of the quakes.

Nearly 72 percent of Kahramanmaras residents voted for Erdogan in the presidential election while only 22 percent voters chose Kilicdaroglu. Erdogan’s Kahramanmaras vote is almost equal with his hometown Rize’s, the highest vote he received across Türkiye with 72.79.

In terms of the parliamentary election results, Erdogan’s AK Party also did very well, receiving nearly 48 percent against CHP’s 16 percent. The AK Party’s ally, National Movement Party (MHP), received 16 percent, equaling the CHP’s share of vote in the earthquake epicenter.

Erdogan visited Kahramanmaras many times and emphasised in many speeches that its people, who lost their loved ones and homes, would not be alone. In March, Erdogan personally attended the groundbreaking ceremonies of 7,353 residences and 620 village houses in Kahramanmaraş.

President Erdogan attends a groundbreaking ceremony of apartment buildings in Kahramanmaras alongside his political allies Devlet Bahceli, the MHP leader, and Mustafa Destici, the BBP leader.

And quickly apartment buildings began rising across the province.


The southeastern province has long been an AK Party stronghold. Like Kahramanmaras, Adiyaman has also been badly hit by the earthquakes. However, Adiyaman continued to vote heavily for Erdogan in the presidential election with 66 percent. Kilicdaroglu could get only 31 percent.

In the parliamentary election, the AK Party also had a large margin with the CHP, receiving 52 percent against the leftist party’s 19 percent.

Like Kahramanmaras, in Adiyaman, the Erdogan government launched a big building project “The number of houses we will build in Adıyaman will reach approximately 50,000 and the number of village houses will reach 23, 640,” said Erdogan, during a March speech in the province in a groundbreaking ceremony of 4.431 housing units.


Like Kahramanmaras and Adiyaman, this eastern Anatolian province, a quake-hit area, was also an AK Party stronghold and this characteristic has not changed on May 14.

69.39 percent of Malatya residents voted for Erdogan against Kilicdaroglu’s 27.02 percent in the presidential election. The province also chose the AK Party over the CHP in the parliamentary election with a big margin.

In mid-April, Erdogan attended the launch of a big apartment building project in Malatya, where the government plans to build 70,000 residences and 25,300 village houses for earthquake survivors.

President Erdogan attends a groundbreaking ceremony in Malatya, an eastern Anatolian province hit by the twin earthquakes.


The border province, hosting a crucial Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, was also hit by the earthquakes, which destroyed many houses including historic sites in the provincial center, Antakya (Antioch).

While the province has a CHP mayor, the presidential race was tight in Hatay, where both Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu received 48 percent as the latter had a slim margin on the former.

But in the parliamentary election, the AK Party received 34 percent against CHP’s 28 percent from Hatay’s earthquake-affected residents.

Other provinces

Beside these four provinces, which were among the worst-affected areas by the earthquakes according to the government’s standards, Erdogan received a large share of the presidential vote in Gaziantep (60/35), Sanliurfa (62/32), Osmaniye (62/31), Kilis (66/27) and Elazig (67/28), other quake-hit provinces, showing his hold on the AK Party’s traditional strongholds.

In all these five provinces, the AK Party also won parliamentary elections with big margins.

In Adana and Diyarbakir, Kilicdaroglu won most presidential votes. But the AK Party was ahead of the CHP in the metropolitan Adana’s parliamentary election.

TRT World