Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will face opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the main run-off of the presidential election on Sunday.
Erdogan, who has ruled the country for more than 20 years, is favored to win for another five years after missing out on a marginal victory in the first elections on May 14.
The incumbent president received 49.5 percent of the vote, while Kilicdaroglu received 44.8 percent in the first round. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, a figure unfamiliar to the Turkish public, received 5.2 percent with the support of an ultra-nationalist coalition.
However, in an unexpected situation political disputeOğan chose to support Erdoğan in the runoff while the ATA coalition that supported him threw its weight behind Kilicdaroğlu after reaching an agreement.
the Rising national votes The first vote and the nationalist nature of the third candidate and the coalition had a major impact on the campaign during the two-week interlude before the run-off.
The election agenda has clearly shifted from Turkey’s crisis-hit economy and relief from the earthquakes in February that killed tens of thousands of people to topics such as “terrorism” and the fate of refugees in the country.
Here is a summary of the two candidates’ policies, promises and rhetoric on key issues:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- “terrorism”The President has consistently pursued sharp rhetoric against “terrorist” groups throughout his campaign, and has kept security issues high on the agenda in an apparent effort to appeal to nationalist votes.
He has repeatedly claimed that his opponent is backed by “terrorist” groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a war since the 1980s for autonomy, and Gulen movementErdoğan’s former ally turned archenemy is accused of the 2016 coup attempt.
During his election campaign, Erdogan said his government would crush these groups.
“Our fight against all evil networks, including the separatist terrorist organization PKK and its extensions, will continue with determination,” he said in a public address earlier in the week, adding that the PKK “can no longer act” in Turkey because of its efforts. .
- refugees: Erdogan promised to return about a million Syrian refugees to their homeland after implementing housing projects in northern Syria, which is under Turkish control, without giving a specific timetable.
He also said that improving dialogue between Syria and Turkey through Russian mediation efforts would help increase the “voluntary” return of refugees.
Erdogan has long accused the opposition of discriminating against refugees in the country, which, according to official figures, hosts 3.4 million of them.
“He is trying to save the situation with his hate speech,” said President Kilicdaroglu.
- Economy: Erdogan has vowed to continue his unorthodox economic policies, including keeping interest rates low despite hyperinflation and The cost of living crisis.
He said he aims to reduce the inflation level to 20 percent in 2023 and less than 10 percent in 2024, but added that his government will continue to cut interest rates.
“I have the thesis that interest rates and inflation are directly proportional,” he repeated after the polls on May 14. The lower interest rates, the lower the rate of inflation. My theory here is that interest is the cause, and inflation is the effect.”
- earthquake reliefErdoğan promised that Providing for earthquake survivors In southeastern Turkey with 20-year mortgages and a 2-year grace period.
His government aims to build a total of 650,000 new apartments in the area and has promised to deliver 319,000 apartments in one year.
The Turkish president also announced that he will set up major production facilities for defense industries in some of the quake-hit provinces.
- “terrorism”: The presidential candidate made “terrorism” one of his top topics during the two-week pause between the two votes.
He has made remarks about how the Erdoğan government and the FETÖ were former allies, and Turkey and the PKK have held talks with the president’s approval in the past.
On television and social media, he vowed to fight all “terrorists”.
Terrorism will be fought, not negotiated. “No political and legal arrangement targeting Turkey’s national and unitary state structure will be allowed,” said the May 24 protocol signed between Kilicdaroglu and the Victory Party, which led the Ata nationalist alliance.
- refugees: Kilicdaroglu has more Anti-refugee rhetoric after the first elections in an apparent attempt to attract nationalist votes.
The candidate promised to repatriate refugees in Turkey within two years before the first elections through an agreement with the Syrian government. Kilicdaroglu’s victory party protocol reduced this to one year.
In a YouTube presentation broadcast earlier this week, he said the repatriation process would take place under certain rules, and the EU must fund it due to the existing refugee agreement between the two sides.
“We will create the infrastructure for this operation. We will ensure their security [refugees’] Lives and property then send them.”
- Economy: Kilicdaroglu has vowed to restore traditional economic policies, including rational interest rates, to fight hyperinflation in the country, and frequently condemns Erdogan’s policy of low interest rates.
The presidential candidate said he will work to attract foreign investment to Turkey as he works to create a country that manufactures high-value products.
He claimed that it could attract up to $300 billion in investment from abroad, saying that investors only want democracy and confidence in Turkey to invest.
Kilicdaroglu said he would ban the sale of homes to foreign nationals until Turkey’s housing crisis, prompted by hyperinflation, earthquakes and other factors, is settled for Turks.
- earthquake relief: The opposition leader promised free housing for earthquake survivors who lost their property in the disaster.
Kilicdaroglu said that he aims to turn the quake-hit provinces into a manufacturing base, adding that materials for new housing construction will be manufactured in the region.
“Once the wounds are healed, this region will become one of the largest production regions in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa,” he said recently.