tight duel

In Turkey, Erdogan and Kiliçdaroglu will meet for a historic face-off

By Joséphine Dedet

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Posted on May 12, 2023 07:50

It is a tight duel that will take place on Sunday (14 May) in Turkey between, on one hand, a president who has been in power for 20 years, and, on the other, his main opponent, an outsider seeking to unify the Turkish people.

We have become so used to his presence that it is hard to imagine him ever giving up his seat. First as mayor of Istanbul (1994-1998), then prime minister (2003-2014), and then president (in 2014 and 2018), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 69, will run for a third term in charge of a country whose political face he has largely changed.

His challenger, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, 74, represents an alliance of six parties determined to stand against an opponent weakened by a severe economic crisis. The legislative elections, also crucial, will be coupled with the presidential elections.

Polls and excitement

While waiting for the voters to decide, each camp believes that its champion will win outright in the first round. Two other candidates are also in the running, and a second round on 28 May is a possibility.

For their part, political observers predict a close duel. For the time being, no poll gives

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