10.1 C
Friday, June 2, 2023
HomeWorldErdogan meets his supporters before Sunday's elections

Erdogan meets his supporters before Sunday’s elections


Unusually, Erdogan avoided predicting the outcome of Turkey’s most competitive election in modern times, when asked by a TV journalist whether he would win the election by saying, “The polls will decide Sunday.”

Outgoing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his supporters this Friday before the start of the countdown to the toughest electoral challenge he has faced in two decades of rule.

Erdogan has been holding campaign rallies around the clock as a crucial election approaches Sunday that will test his Islamist-oriented rule in the only Muslim-majority country in NATO.

Opinion polls show that his secular rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has a slight lead over him and is close to passing the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a second round on May 28.

What contributed to strengthening the positions of the opposition was the withdrawal of candidate Muharram Ince, who represents a third party, on Thursday, as it could have weakened Kilicdaroglu’s chances of inflicting the first electoral defeat on the Turkish president.

Unusually, Erdogan avoided predicting the outcome of Turkey’s most competitive election in modern times, when asked by a TV journalist whether he would win the election by saying, “The polls will decide Sunday.”

Erdogan, 69, admitted that he was having difficulty winning over the voter base of young people who did not remember the corruption and economic chaos that prevailed under secular governments in Turkey in the 1990s. In another media appearance this week, he said, “There is a generation in our country that has not experienced any of the problems we have experienced.”

On Friday, Erdogan will hold an electoral rally with his supporters in a historically conservative stronghold in Istanbul, before meeting participants in the opening of a new mosque in the city, which is among the many mosques built throughout Turkey during his reign.

fading support

“We find it difficult to explain our values ​​to this new generation. Our young people are making comparisons not with the old Turkey, but with countries that have much better conditions than here,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s frank admissions point to a growing realization that he may not be able to play his trump cards.

The Turkish president was gradually losing the support of key segments of the population who had rallied around him during the more prosperous decade that followed his rise to power in 2003.

Some opinion polls showed that the segment of young people who have never known a president other than Erdogan in their lives supports his main rival.

And the Kurds, who had previously trusted his efforts to end their cultural oppression, now support Kilicdaroglu’s campaign.

And the economic crisis, the worst in Turkey in a quarter of a century, which is mostly attributed to Erdogan’s unorthodox economic views, has led other groups to lose faith in his government.

This left the president with little choice but to try to mobilize his hardline nationalist and religious supporters to turn out and vote in large numbers.

He appealed to his supporters to “crush the ballot boxes”, accusing the West of funding his rivals in an effort to undermine Turkey’s sovereignty.

A battle for democracy

Some observers see this election as an existential battle for Turkey’s democratic future after years of suppressing dissent.

“Either Erdogan loses, giving Turkey a chance to restore full democracy, or he wins and is likely to stay in power for the rest of his life,” said Soner Cagaptay, a senior analyst at The Washington Institute.

Kilicdaroglu seems to sense signs of discontent in Turkish society.

This former civil servant has attempted an all-encompassing campaign that ignores Erdogan’s personal attacks and focuses on a pledge to re-strengthen the economic system and civil liberties.

“You will be able to criticize me very easily,” he told the youth during the campaign.

He has surrounded himself with economists trusted by Western investors and some of Erdogan’s former allies.

Kilicdaroglu, 74, also accused Russian parties of trying to help Erdogan in the elections, which the Kremlin “vehemently” denied on Friday.

Distribution of powers

Kilicdaroglu said his immediate goal after the elections would be to launch a process aimed at stripping the presidency of many of the powers that Erdogan concentrated in his hands after the failed coup in 2016.

The bloody coup attempt was a watershed moment in Türkiye’s history. Erdogan responded with a purge that has led to thousands of soldiers being imprisoned for life and tens of thousands of Turks stripped of their government jobs.

Kilicdaroglu wants to return power to Parliament after Erdogan seized it in a controversial constitutional referendum. This will require the opposition’s victory in the legislative elections that take place simultaneously with the presidential elections on Sunday.

However, opinion polls showed that Erdogan’s right-wing alliance is ahead of the opposition bloc in the legislative elections. But the opposition may win a majority if it gets the support of a new left-wing coalition that represents the Kurdish vote.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories