ANKARA (Realist English). For Turkish President Erdoğan, the early elections on May 14 are of great historical significance. His main rival from the opposition is the chairman of the Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu .
Opinion polls show that Kılıçdaroğlu has pulled ahead, but Erdogan is an experienced participant in the election campaign, behind whom stands the full power of the state and its institutions.
Reuben Silverman, an analyst at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies, notes that it is difficult to imagine Erdogan’s departure after two decades in power:
“After two decades, Erdoğan’s departure is hard to imagine. Polls suggest that he may be defeated by an opposition candidate, but there is widespread belief that he will do whatever it takes to stay in power, using his incumbency advantages to eke out a narrow victory or challenge unfavorable results.
Much of the anxiety surrounding Turkey’s presidential contest—and how Erdogan will respond to its results—is a consequence of his unique position in Turkish political history. It is hard to imagine Erdogan gracefully accepting defeat because it would be unprecedented: No Turkish president has ever been directly voted out of office”.
The Politico article notes that the elections will have a serious impact on security in Europe and the Middle East:
A Politico article notes that the elections will have a serious impact on security in Europe and the Middle East:
“The election will weigh heavily on security in Europe and the Middle East. Who is elected stands to define: Turkey’s role in the NATO alliance; its relationship with the U.S., the EU and Russia; migration policy; Ankara’s role in the war in Ukraine; and how it handles tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The May 14 vote is expected to be the most hotly contested race in Erdoğan’s 20-year rule — as the country grapples with years of economic mismanagement and the fallout from a devastating earthquake.”
“There will be a change from an authoritarian single-man rule, towards a kind of a teamwork, which is a much more democratic process,” Ünal Çeviköz, chief foreign policy adviser to Kılıçdaroğlu told Politico. “Kılıçdaroğlu will be the maestro of that team.”