After two decades in power, Turkey’s all-powerful leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appears headed for an intervention. Voting for the presidential election is on SundayAnalysts say.
Erdogan, 69, has weathered strong political crises during his tenure, including mass protests, an attempted military coup, allegations of corruption, a massive influx of refugees from Syria’s civil war, and the rise and fall of the Islamic State terrorist group on Turkey’s borders. Inflation will cross 80% in 2022 And criticism of his handling of earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people.
“(Turkey’s) religious and nationalist right has emerged (after the first round of voting), led by a leader who promises to make Turkey great again after 20 years as prime minister and president,” the Turkish policy expert wrote. Tuba Unlu Bilgic in a blog post Center for European Policy Analysis, a think tank.
Tough competition in TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu are heading to the presidential election
Turkey Presidential Election: What’s Happening?
- A May 28 runoff between Erdogan and rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after neither candidate received at least 50% support from Turkey’s 64 million eligible voters in the previous round. Erdogan finished with 49.5% of the vote in the May 14 election; Kilicdaroglu got 44.9%.
What matters most to voters in Turkey’s elections?
- During the election campaign, Erdogan portrayed himself as an ally of Turkey’s Islamists, religious conservatives and nationalists who stood up to the West, bolstered Turkey’s defense sector and took a tough line against militant Kurdish separatists. Klikdaroglu drew attention to Turkey’s economic ruin and the devastating impact of earthquakes. Both sides capitalized on anti-refugee sentiment.
Why Turkey’s Presidential Votes Are Resonating Beyond Its Borders
- Turkey is a strategically located NATO ally. For example, Erdogan has raised the country’s diplomatic profile by helping broker a grain deal between warring Russia and Ukraine and blocking Sweden’s membership in the military system. He has eroded Turkey’s democratic institutions and aggressively consolidated his own power, turning the country into one of the world’s largest prisons for journalists. President Joe Biden has described Erdogan as “a dictator.” Kilicdaroglu, who is relatively unknown outside Turkey, has promised to foster better relations with the West and return the country to a more secular and democratic path.
Turkey on the World Stage:Erdogan launched a military offensive in Syria following Trump’s withdrawal of US troops
Who leads Turkey’s runoff vote on Sunday?
- Ahead of the race, the momentum was with Erdogan. Not only did he get more votes than expected in the first round, but his right-wing political bloc won a majority in a separate parliamentary election. A few days before the second round, Sinan Ogun, who finished third in the first round of voting, endorsed Erdogan. A The OSCE election observer mission reported While the vote was generally free, Erdogan enjoyed an “unfair advantage” because “restrictions on basic freedoms of assembly, association and expression hindered the participation of some opposition politicians and parties, as well as civil society and independent media.”
If Erdogan wins, what happens next?
- He can rule Turkey until 2029. Darren Acemoglu, professor of economics at MIT and co-author of the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and PovertyRecently written Comment piece Erdogan’s victory “will bode well for other right-wing populists and strongmen, such as Narendra Modi in India and Donald Trump in the US, who will continue to use similar tactics and aggressive nationalist rhetoric to energize their base and deepen polarization.” Acemoglu added: “With dictatorship often associated with economic mismanagement, what happens in Turkey does not stay in Turkey.” Erdogan said in a statement Interview this week Turkey has a “special” and growing relationship with Russia despite increasing pressure on Ankara to help strengthen sanctions against Moscow over its Ukraine invasion.
Dig deeper:The fate of the Black Sea Grain Agreement between Ukraine and Russia is in the balance