Perhaps where change in foreign policy is most likely to occur with a change of government is in Turkey’s relations with the West.

“According to the policy platform of the opposition, the new Turkish foreign policy will seek to reassert Turkey’s Western vocation,” said Ulgen.

An opposition-led government would seek to improve Turkey’s relations with its traditional partners in the West, namely the European Union and the United States, but the “outcome of this will also depend on how Washington and Brussels react to the prospect of political change in Turkey,” he added.

The West may welcome Kilicdarolgu not due to its own interests, but rather because he is perceived as someone less assertive in imposing Turkish interests, said Hamdi.

“Much of Erdogan’s use of force has been the result of genuine fears in Ankara that something bad is about to happen to Turkish interests, and that his allies have not taken those fears seriously,” he explained.

According to Cevik, a general pro-Western outlook in foreign policy has been the default for Turkey in even the AK Party’s first decade in power, after 2002.

Tensions have always existed, but even when Turkey was under a heavy American arms embargo in the 1970s, “these tensions didn’t amount to questioning Turkey’s membership in the wider Western geopolitical system,” he said.

“Today, this is questioned,” Cevik emphasised.

Others have argued that it is the West that has pushed Turkey away.

While most parties in Turkey prefer closer ties and integration with Europe, Europe does not consider Turkey part of its fold, and France, in particular, has been vocal about this, said Hamdi.

“As a result, Erdogan has shifted his priorities and placed greater importance on the Islamic world, where Turkey has been able develop new alliances, new ties, and rapidly expand its influence and soft power to become a major – and more independent – player in the region,” said Hamdi.

Erdogan was relatively friendly with former US President Donald Trump, but relations with current US President Joe Biden have been more frosty.

Washington removed Ankara from its F-35 joint strike fighter programme in 2019 after Turkey bought S-400 air defence systems from Russia, systems incompatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ones.

The CHP’s platform promised to return Turkey to the F-35 programme, but does not state whether Turkey would return the Russian systems.

Turkey has also been wary of the US’s support for the YPG in Syria, officially through the Syrian Democratic Forces, of which it is the leading part.

Still, Turkey’s support for Ukraine and its reversal on its opposition to Finland joining NATO – while remaining uncertain over Sweden – have spurred Washington to sell Ankara F-16 jets and other military equipment in the interest of NATO unity.

Under a potential new government, many of these issues may still stand but “there will be a willingness by the new Turkish government to address these issues more constructively”, said Ulgen.

Equally, it will also “depend on how much flexibility the US side will be willing to demonstrate to resolve these issues”, he added.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition alliance speaking
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition alliance, addresses his supporters during a rally in Izmir, Turkey April 30, 2023 [File: Alp Eren Kaya/Republican People’s Party/Handout via Reuters]