Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main opponent Kemal Kılıçdaroglu meet on Sunday for the second round of the presidential election in Turkey, after none of the candidates managed to have a majority of 50% +1 to win the first round. The results of this election will be decisive for the future of Turkey.
The Turkish head of state, candidate for re-election and in power since 2014, narrowly missed the opportunity to secure the presidency in the first round after counting the votes. Erdogan won 49.5% of the vote and his opponent, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, 44.9%, a difference of 2.5 million votes between the two.
The marathon campaign for the second round is to the advantage of the Turkish president, accustomed to this exercise as a real beast of politics. He also succeeded in having the support of the third presidential candidate Sinan Ogan who announced that he was joining the presidential camp. Erdogan can potentially count on the 5.2% of the votes collected in the first round on May 14 by the candidate.
While one of the determinants of this presidential election was to be the earthquake which struck regions of Turkey and which, according to international observers, was to weigh against the outgoing president, the opposite scenario took place.
Indeed, the provinces affected by the earthquake voted for Erdogan and his party, the AKP. And for good reason, if the organization at the time showed shortcomings to the point that Erdogan officially apologized, solidarity was quickly organized by the presidential party and effectively.
For his part, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, former head of Turkish Social Security and leader of the main party in this coalition, the CHP, does not display the same profile. He is known to be calm and does not embody the same passion.
It can boast of being supported by a large coalition. Indeed, 6 parties have decided not to present a candidate and to support the one who is described as “the anti Erdogan”. He even managed to curry favor with the Kurdish party.
Unlike Recept Tayyip Erdogan, conservative and custodian of the Sunni Muslim tradition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu is part of the Alevis religious minority, which represents up to 20% of the Turkish population. A Sunni branch that does not respect all the rules of Islam.
For this second round, President Erdogan has shown a big lead over his opponent and the ranks should close around him to avoid letting Kemal Kilicdaroglu pass, a profile that worries a majority of the population in the face of the major challenges expected by the Turks. .
This tendency to get closer to Erdogan’s ideas was also manifested in the results of the legislative elections which took place at the same time as the presidential election on Sunday.
In Parliament, Erdogan’s alliance lost some seats which were recovered by the ultra-nationalist party, which is also its ally. The 2.8 million votes collected by the ultra-nationalist Sinan Ogan will certainly weigh the scales since nationalism, which has made a comeback, will be a major element of this second round with the economic crisis which favors Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
The Turkish population is hit by inflation, still 50% year on year in March, after peaking at 85% in October 2022, in addition to the deterioration of the national currency against the dollar, which angers the Turks.
However, since Erdogan came to power, the country has become a major player on the international scene, which reinforces the pride of the Turks.