Turkey/President: Erdogan’s rival appeals to youth ahead of second round

by Daren Butler and Ezgi Erkoyan

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rival addressed Turkey’s youth on Tuesday in the hope of drumming up support for the May 28 second round of presidential elections after he was twice voted out of power by the outgoing president in the first round on Sunday. Was defeated for living in decade.

Kemal Kilikdaroglu, the candidate of a coalition of six opposition parties, won 45% of the vote in the first round, ahead of Recep Tayyip Erdogan (49.5%), who defied forecasts and reached the 50% vote threshold needed to win. . The first round of this ballot was considered a referendum on his totalitarian rule.

Kemal Kilikdaroglu, a 74-year-old former senior civil servant, presented an optimistic view of Sunday’s results, in a series of messages posted on Twitter and addressed to “dear youth” saying “a message of change from the ballot box”. emerged from “.

“Those who want change in this country now outnumber those who don’t,” wrote the Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, who promised before the election to be more conservative if he won. economic policies and to bring Turkey back to its democratic and secular past.

But among his supporters, the hope of victory seems to be shattered due to the result of the first round.

“I am less hopeful now,” said Aseem, a 22-year-old student who was voting for the first time. “There is an impasse. On one side we have nationalist voters and on the other side there are Kurdish voters,” he added, referring to the pro-Kurdish formation, the coalition led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu and supported by the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). ,

“Only a political guru can win in this situation, and Kilikdaroglu is not that person in my opinion,” he said.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his nationalist and Islamist allies also secured a parliamentary majority, also winning the legislative elections, which were held on Sunday, 322 of the 600 seats.

This could allow the 69-year-old president to use the argument that a vote in his favor would guarantee stability.

earthquake affected areas are not tilted erdogan

Region-by-region results from the first round showed the AKP came out on top in 10 of the country’s 11 southern provinces hit by the devastating twin earthquakes in February that killed more than 50,000 people and left millions homeless.

According to analysts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promise to rebuild disaster-ravaged cities within a year reassured voters in areas that were already traditionally held by the AKP for the most part.

In an attempt to convince young voters, Kemal Kılıkdaroğlu blamed the crisis in the cost of living, according to him, on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh economic policy implemented by declining interest rates.

“You don’t have enough money for anything. Your joys in life have been taken away from you,” he said. “You will not have another youth. We have 12 days to get out of this dark tunnel (…)”.

A poll conducted last year by the Konda Institute showed that nearly three-quarters of young voters called to the polls for the first time believed that a Recep Tayyip Erdogan victory would be bad for Turkey – 59% of any country. Sentiment Age shared by voters.

The youth said they wanted better education, an end to nepotism and more respect for human rights.

This election is decisive not only in who will lead Turkey, a NATO member, but also in what will be the political and economic orientation of this regional power of 85 million inhabitants, especially in relation to Russia, the Middle East and the West. In its relations with .

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strengthened Ankara’s ties with Moscow and loosened traditional ties with Washington.

Nationalist candidate Sinan Ogan, who came third in the first round with 5.2% of the vote, could play a decisive role for the second round, depending on whether he decides to vote for his supporters.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters on Monday, he said he would only support Kemal Kilicdaroglu if he pledged not to make any concessions to the HDP, hinting at a possible promotion for Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

(Reporting by Darren Butler and Azgi Erkoyan in London with Karin Strohker; French edition Jean Terzien)

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