In a runoff election with Erdogan, Turkey's opposition faces an uphill struggle.

May 15, 2023



(cnn)

A hushed silence fell over the crowd outside the Istanbul headquarters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party, as his vote had dropped below the 50% threshold needed to clinch the first round of Sunday’s historic election. A six-party coalition had coalesced to end Erdogan’s 20-year rule, campaigning on a platform of change, restoring democratic institutions eroded by the strongman’s tenure and jumpstarting the flailing economy. Most Turkish polls had predicted a knife-edge lead for the main opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but this was not the case. A six-party coalition had coalesced to end Erdogan’s 20-year rule, campaigning on a platform of change, restoring democratic institutions eroded by the strongman’s tenure and jumpstarting the flailing economy. This was unprecedented in Turkey, as most Turkish polls had predicted a knife-edge lead for the main opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The election results in Turkey have exposed the opposition's limited ability to seize on the disgruntlement of a populace reeling from an economic crisis and a devastating earthquake. In the end, Erdogan secured a five-point lead over his principal opponent, destinating them to a run-off vote. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, was left with a potentially decisive 5% of the vote. The new kingmaker has conditioned his endorsement of either candidate on hardened policies towards refugees and some Kurdish groups he perceives as terrorists. Analysts predict that Ogan's ultranationalist followers will be more likely to vote for Erdogan in the next round. Erdogan's ruling party has also emerged from Sunday's election with the largest parliamentary bloc, leaving the opposition facing an uphill struggle to win the runoff.

Recep-tayyip-erdogan’s Turkey Erdogan

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