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Erdogan warns of opposition victory ahead of Turkish elections

Shortly before presidential elections in Turkey, incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned his devoted supporters of reprisals should his secular opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, come to power. “You will pay a heavy price if we lose,” Erdogan told a flag-waving crowd at a campaign rally in Istanbul.

For his part, Kilicdaroglu announced at a campaign event in Ankara that he wanted to bring “democracy” and “peace” to Turkey. Erdogan warned that Kilicdaroglu’s opposition alliance was driven by “revenge and greed”. The President accused the West of using the opposition as an instrument to impose its will on Turkish society.

defeat is not excluded

For the leader of the conservative Islamic AKP party, which has been in power for 20 years, tomorrow’s elections could be close. According to most polls, his secular opponent Kilicdaroglu, with his alliance of six opposition parties, is ahead. In addition, the withdrawal of secular nationalist candidate and Erdogan opponent Muharrem Ince from the race on Thursday may have further boosted the opposition’s chances.

Kilicdaroglu with bulletproof vest

During an exceptionally brief performance in Ankara, Kilicdaroglu told thousands of supporters: “Are you ready to bring democracy to this country? To bring peace to this country? I promise you, I am ready too.” During his last appearance on the campaign trail, the CHP politician was wearing a bulletproof vest and security guards armed with assault rifles stood beside him and there are rumors that there have been threats against him.

The opposition candidate has announced that, if elected, he intends to abolish the presidential system introduced by Erdogan. Among other things, parliament must elect the head of government again in the future. For that to happen, however, the opposition would also have to win the parliamentary elections that are taking place at the same time.

Erdogan admits campaign problems

In another appearance this week, Erdogan admitted that it was difficult for him to win over young voters: “There is a generation in our country that has not gone through any of the hardships that we have had,” he said, looking at the economic woes. of the 1990s. And it is not easy to “transmit our values ​​to this new generation”.

Some 64.3 million Turks – including six million first-time voters – are called to vote. Whoever gets more than 50% of the votes on the first ballot becomes the new president. If neither candidate succeeds in doing so, the two highest-placed candidates will face each other in a run-off two weeks later.

Besides Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, there is now only one other presidential candidate. According to observers, the nationalist Sinan Ogan has no chance of winning and should only take votes away from Erdogan.