Elections under authoritarian regimes rarely deliver democratic outcomes. Still, most observers and pollsters expected Turkey’s May 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections to be different. A deepening economic crisis, a botched rescue effort after a devastating earthquake, and discontent with a ruling party in power for more than two decades seemed to fuel the rise of a united opposition. But the return to democracy did not happen, and this cannot be credited solely to an unlevel electoral playing field. Turkey offers a case study in electoral autocracy, with incumbent tactics of repression and co-optation that disarm opposition parties by drawing them into the logic of autocratic politics.

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