After two decades in power, Turkey’s most powerful leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have the upper hand heading for a Sunday’s presidential election runoffanalysts said.
Erdogan, 69, has repeatedly weathered severe political crises during his tenure including mass demonstrations, an attempted military coup, corruption allegations, a huge influx of refugees from the civil war of Syria, the rise and fall of the Islamic State terrorist group on Turkey’s borders, which is on the rise. inflation to exceed 80% by 2022 and a flood of criticism over his handling of the earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people.
“(Turkey’s) religious and nationalist right rose to the top (after the first round vote), led by a leader who promises to make Turkey great again after 20 years as prime minister and president,” the expert wrote in Turkey’s policy Tuba Unlu Bilgic in a blog post for the Center for European Policy Analysis, a think tank.
Tight race in TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu are leading the presidential runoff
Turkey’s presidential election: What’s going on?
- On May 28 there will be a runoff vote between Erdogan and challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu after neither received at least 50% support from Turkey’s 64 million eligible voters in an earlier round. The election ended on May 14 with Erdogan receiving 49.5% of the vote; Kilicdaroglu got 44.9%.
What issues matter most to voters in the Turkish election?
- During the election campaign, Erdogan presented himself as an ally of Turkey’s Islamist, religious conservatives and nationalists who stood up to the West, bolstered Turkey’s defense industry and took a hardline against militant Kurdish separatists. Kilicdaroglu drew attention to the deterioration of Turkey’s economy and the continuing destructive effects of earthquakes. Both sides capitalized on anti-refugee sentiment.
Why Turkey’s presidential vote is reverberating beyond its borders
- Turkey is a strategically located NATO ally. Erdogan has raised the country’s diplomatic profile by, for example, helping to broker a grain deal between warring Russia and Ukraine and blocking Sweden’s membership in the military organization. He also dismantled Turkey’s democratic institutions, aggressively consolidated his own power and turned the country into one of the world’s largest prisons of journalists. President Joe Biden described Erdogan as an “autocrat.” Kilicdaroglu, who is relatively unknown outside Turkey, has pledged to foster better relations with the West and return the country to a more secular and democratic path.
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Who got the upper hand in Turkey’s runoff vote on Sunday?
- Ahead of the runoff, Erdogan appears to be gaining momentum. Not only did he win more votes than expected in the first round, his right-wing political bloc secured a majority in separate parliamentary elections. A few days before the runoff, Sinan Ogan, who came third in the vote in the first round, endorsed Erdogan. An The OSCE election observer mission said that while the vote was generally free, Erdogan enjoyed an “unfair advantage” because “restrictions on basic freedoms of assembly, association and expression prevented the participation of some politicians and opposition parties, as well as the civil society civil and independent media.”
If Erdogan wins, what happens next?
- He can rule Turkey until 2029. Daron Acemoglu, a professor of economics at MIT and co-author of the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Povertywrote in a recent opinion piece that Erdogan’s victory would be “good news for other right-wing populists and strongmen, such as Narendra Modi in India and Donald Trump in the US, who will likely continue to use similar tactics and aggressive nationalist rhetoric to -live their base and deepen the polarization. .” Acemoglu added: “With authoritarianism often associated with economic mismanagement, what happens in Turkey does not stay in Turkey.” Erdogan said in a interview this week that Turkey has a “special” and growing relationship with Russia despite mounting pressure on Ankara to help strengthen sanctions against Moscow over its aggression in Ukraine.
Dig deeper:The fate of the Black Sea grain deal between Ukraine and Russia remains in the balance