1684047514 Turkey to vote in crucial election that could end Erdogans

Turkey to vote in crucial election that could end Erdogan’s 20-year rule – Portal

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey

[1/8] A voter casts his ballot at a polling station during the presidential and parliamentary elections in Hatay, Turkey, May 14, 2023. Portal/Emilie Madi

  • Years of economic crisis have undermined Erdogan’s support
  • Opinion polls give opposition leader Kilicdaroglu a slight lead
  • Erdogan is a master fighter with a loyal following

ISTANBUL, May 14 (Portal) – Turks voted on Sunday in one of the most important elections in modern Turkey’s 100-year history that will either oust President Tayyip Erdogan and halt his government’s increasingly authoritarian stance, or end a third decade of his rule could usher in .

The vote will determine not only who leads Turkey, a NATO member country of 85 million people, but how it will be governed, where its economy is headed amid a deep cost-of-living crisis and what shape its foreign policy has taken in unpredictable turns .

Opinion polls give a slight lead to Erdogan’s main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads an alliance of six opposition parties, but if either party gets no more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff on May 28.

Voters will also elect a new parliament, likely a close race between the People’s Alliance made up of Erdogan’s conservative, Islamist-rooted AK Party (AKP) and nationalist MHP and others, and Kilicdaroglu’s Nation Alliance made up of six opposition parties, including his secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), founded by Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Polling stations opened at 08:00 (05:00 GMT) and will close at 17:00 (14:00 GMT). According to Turkish law, the announcement of results is prohibited until 9 p.m. There could be clues late Sunday as to whether there will be a runoff election for the presidency.

In Diyarbakir, a city in the predominantly Kurdish southeast hit by a devastating earthquake in February, some said they voted for the opposition, others for Erdogan.

“Change is needed for the country,” said Nuri Can, 26, who cited Turkey’s economic crisis as the reason for his vote for Kilicdaroglu. “After the election, another economic crisis is just around the corner, so I wanted change.”

But Hayati Arslan, 51, said he voted for Erdogan and his AK party.

“The country’s economic situation is not good, but I still believe that Erdogan will fix this situation. Turkey’s image abroad has reached a very good point with Erdogan and I want it to stay that way,” he said.

Queues formed in front of the city’s polling stations, and around 9,000 police officers were on duty across the province.

Many in the provinces affected by the earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people, have expressed anger at the government’s slow initial response, but there is little evidence that the problem is the way it is how people vote has changed.

Kurdish voters, who make up 15-20% of the electorate, will play a crucial role, with the Nation Alliance unlikely to achieve a parliamentary majority on its own.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is not part of the largest opposition alliance, but after cracking down on its members in recent years, it has taken a fierce stand against Erdogan.

The HDP has declared its support for Kilicdaroglu in the presidential campaign. It is entering the parliamentary elections under the logo of the small left-wing Green party because a senior prosecutor has launched a court case against the HDP over links to Kurdish militants, which the party denies.


Erdogan, 69, is a powerful orator and campaign master who pulled out all the stops during the campaign to pass his toughest political test. Enjoying the fierce loyalty of devout Turks who once felt disenfranchised in secular Turkey, his political career has weathered an attempted coup in 2016 and numerous corruption scandals.

However, if the Turks do oust Erdogan, it will be largely because their wealth, equality and ability to meet their basic needs have declined as inflation topped 85% in October 2022 and the lira collapsed.

Kilicdaroglu, a 74-year-old former official, promises that if he wins he will return to orthodox economic policies and turn away from Erdogan’s strict management.

Kilicdaroglu also says he wants to return the country to the parliamentary system of government, based on Erdogan’s executive presidential system, which was passed in a 2017 referendum. He has also pledged to restore the independence of the judiciary, which critics say Erdogan has cracked down on dissent.

During his tenure, Erdogan has tightly controlled most of Turkey’s institutions, sidelined liberals and critics. Human Rights Watch said in its 2022 World Report that Erdogan’s government has set Turkey’s human rights record back by decades.

If he wins, Kilicdaroglu faces the challenge of holding together an opposition alliance of nationalists, Islamists, secularists and liberals.

The final days of the campaign were marked by allegations of foreign interference.

Kilicdaroglu said his party had concrete evidence of Russia’s responsibility for publishing “deep fake” content online, which Moscow denied. Erdogan accused the opposition of working with US President Joe Biden to overthrow him. A US State Department spokesman said Washington does not take sides in elections.

Text by Alexandra Hudson, editing by Frances Kerry

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