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Monday, May 27, 2024

Türkiye. Presidential and parliamentary elections. The opposition candidate is the favorite in the polls

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The presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey attract the attention of almost the whole world. Two questions dominate: Will Recep Tayyip Erdogan stay in power? Will he give it back if he loses? For over 20 years of rule, Erdogan has subordinated many state institutions, which today resemble a religious state more than democracy. For many Turks, however, the issues of values ​​fade into the background when inflation runs rampant in the country by several dozen percent.

In the eyes of the world, this is the most important election this year. In Turkey, they are called the election of the century. At stake is whether the NATO country will continue to drift towards Russia and sectarian dictatorship, or whether it will return to a secular, pro-Western democracy that proves that Islam and modernization are not contradictory concepts.

On Sunday, Turks will vote in the parliamentary and presidential elections at the same time. The latter are more important since the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has granted himself enormous powers. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, known as the Turkish Gandhi, has a great chance of removing him from power. – Spring will come to our country. With our votes, we will change the authoritarian regime – assures Erdogan’s opponent.

Elections have been going on de facto for several days. The Turkish diaspora has already cast its votes. If none of the candidates wins more than half of the votes, a second round of elections will take place on May 28. According to the polls, Kilicdaroglu is close to winning, with more than 49 percent of voters wanting to vote for him. That is why the opposition candidate is attacked mercilessly.

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– Kemal, you can drink as much as you want, even a barrel of beer, but it won’t make you any better. My nation will not bend to an alcoholic or a drunkard – says the president, who is dressing for re-election, about his opponent.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters Archive

Allegations of interference

The opposition accuses Russia of interfering in the campaign. One of the candidates – Muharrem Ince – dropped out of the run after the publication of a sex tape with his alleged participation. The politician defends himself and accuses Russia of creating a so-called deep fake, i.e. a manipulated recording in which his likeness was inserted.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu says he has evidence of Russian interference. On Twitter, in Turkish and Russian, he appealed to Russia: “if you want our friendship after the elections, get your hands off our country. We continue to stand for cooperation and friendship.”

– We consider it unacceptable for another country to interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs during elections or any other period. It is absolutely unacceptable to interfere in our electoral process in favor of another political party. I wanted the whole world to know about this case, so I tweeted about it,” explains Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Inflation at the heart of the election campaign

However, Türkiye has bigger problems than the alleged sex scandal. It is struggling with massive inflation – officially down to 50 percent in April. Unofficially, according to experts, in recent months it could have reached even 100 percent, and Erdogan’s handouts and irrational moves were to blame. – The purchasing power of the ordinary, middle-class citizen has significantly weakened. This is the root cause of dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s rule. The opposition gains because it promises a return to a more conventional economy and has a more credible team of economists, stresses Sinan Ulge, director of the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy in Istanbul.

With inflation of several dozen percent, buying votes may not work. Just before the elections, Erdogan introduced, among other things, exemptions from gas fees and 45% increases for the budget and pensioners.

Many voters accuse the authorities of not doing enough after the huge earthquake that hit Turkey in early February. The number of victims exceeded 50,000, more than 20 million people were affected by the disaster.

The Turks are fed up with inflation.  Erdogan may lose power

The Turks are fed up with inflation. Erdogan may lose powerJustyna Kazimierczak/Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

“Generation Z can make a difference”

Young people can be decisive. More than 6 million voters will vote for the first time in their lives, which is almost 10 percent of the entire electorate. “Young people really have a chance to make a difference. Education and the economy here are in a very bad condition. We can prevent the situation from getting worse by casting the right vote. Generation Z can make a difference, says Berivan, who will cast her vote for the first time in her life.

Young people do not know any other president than Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He has ruled Turkey for 20 years, mercilessly cracking down on anyone who opposes him. After the failed coup in 2016, which he may have been behind, Erdogan imprisoned thousands and carried out brutal purges in the army and the judiciary. Being an independent journalist is an act of supreme courage in today’s Turkey.

– Over the last 19 years, I have conducted almost 150 journalistic investigations. I have been accused by the authorities nearly 50 times for my work. During Erdogan’s tenure, I spent a total of nearly 25 months in prison. I have been threatened with death many times, says Baris Pehlivan, a Turkish investigative journalist.

No one is sure if Erdogan will give up power after a possible defeat. Istanbul and other major Turkish cities are taking the risk of riots seriously. More than 600,000 police officers and other services are to ensure peace of mind during the vote.

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

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