Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu will face incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential elections scheduled for mid-May. This was announced by an alliance of six parties on Monday evening in Ankara. Erdogan’s re-election is not considered certain.
The parliamentary and presidential elections would actually be in June. However, Erdogan has announced that it will be brought forward to May 14. The elections are seen as a test for the president, who has been in power for 20 years. According to polls, his re-election is anything but certain. 74-year-old Kilicdaroglu comes from the eastern Anatolian province of Tunceli (Kurdish: Dersim) and belongs to the Alevi religious minority. The opposition leader supports his country’s EU membership and advocates a nationalist course on the refugee issue. Critics accuse Kilicdaroglu , head of the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP), a social democratic party founded by state founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, of not being charismatic and not the kind of leader Turkey needs. He counters that the Turkish population has had enough of Erdogan and his leadership style anyway. It has been a long time since the parties were able to agree on a common candidate for the alliance; in the past few days there had even been indications of a collapse of the alliance. Five parties wanted to send Kilicdaroglu into the race. The leader of the nationalist Iyi party, Meral Aksener, on the other hand, favored the mayors of the metropolises of Istanbul and Ankara, Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, who also belong to the CHP. A good three months after the devastating earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border area, with more than 45,000 dead alone in Turkey, Erdogan is aiming for another term. The opposition accuses him, among other things, of not having adequately prepared the country for earthquakes. A breakup of the opposition alliance would have played Erdogan into the cards. Allegations of friendliness and corruption Even before the earthquake disaster, the president, who has been in charge of the country for 20 years, had to deal with a number of crises at the same time. His economic policy set in motion an inflationary spiral that caused prices to rise by 85 percent last year. In addition, his government is fighting allegations of friendliness and corruption.