The competition receded in the second round of the Turkish presidential elections between the outgoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won a comfortable lead in the first round (about 49.51% of the vote) against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who fell behind Erdogan in the first round (44.88%). .
Turks residing in diaspora countries such as Kuwait, Iraqi Kurdistan and the northern part of the island of Cyprus went to the polling stations this Saturday to vote in the second round of the presidential elections.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu had stepped up his propaganda rhetoric in recent days against his rival, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of not protecting the borders and facilitating the recruitment of 10 million refugees to his country, pledging to return all of those refugees to their countries.
It is worth noting that the leader of the National Action Party, Sinan Ogan, who came third in the first round of the elections, and obtained about 5% of the votes, will have an impact on his supporters in deciding the choice in this second round. Ogan says he will vote for the candidate who will fight irregular immigration and “terrorists” (referring to Kurdish militants).
Experts say that Kilicdaroglu courted the nationalists, by attacking the Syrians, who constitute the largest gathering outside their country with about 5 million refugees in Turkey, because the Kurds represent an important part of his electoral base.
On the other hand, Erdogan was honored in the Islamic world, for embracing those who fled conflicts and wars in their countries, such as the Syrians, and the agreement between Ankara and the European Union helped reduce the irregular migration crisis from Turkey to Europe, as Turkey obtained millions of euros from Brussels in the framework of that program.
But due to Turkey’s economic crisis, anti-immigrant sentiment has surfaced in the electoral atmosphere. Erdogan sought to find common ground, as Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said that his country had returned more than half a million Syrians to their country, but added that Erdogan did not want to throw “his Syrian brothers to their death.”