Türkiye: Earthquake victims expressed confidence in Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s gaze fixes the ruins of Antakya from a poster and relaxes Ahmet Gulildizoglu ahead of Sunday’s second round of presidential elections.
In Turkey’s southern provinces devastated by the February 6 earthquake that killed at least 50,000 people, millions of voters chose to bet on the man who has been in power for twenty years, narrowly missing out on re-election on May 14 .
Facing Erdogan, his social-democratic and secular opponent Kemal Kilikdaroglu spoke to Ahmet Gulildizoglu in front of an empty lot where the six-story building once stood, “You didn’t raise with hope”.
“Plus, you have a coalition that delivers on its promises,” he insists about President Erdogan’s Islamo-conservative AKP party, which is allied with several far-right parties.
Unlike the first round, “Reece” is now the big favorite of the second.
The anger expressed after the earthquake forced the head of state to issue an unusual public apology. But for Berk Essen, professor of political science at Sabanci University in Istanbul, this result is “not very surprising”.
The researchers recall that most of the affected provinces traditionally vote for the president and believe that its residents accepted Erdogan’s invocation of “destiny” after the disaster, without respecting earthquake-proofing standards. prevent shortage.
Furthermore, he added, “the opposition did not run an intensive campaign in this area and could not present a credible alternative message”.
– “Deposits of expatriates” –
Sensing defeat, the 74-year-old Kilikdaroglu changed course. Abandoning his promises of appeasement, he adopted an assertive tone, pledging to evacuate millions of Syrian refugees “on victory”.
This message resonated in cities bordering Syria such as Antioch, ancient Antioch.
Kiliçdaroglu had put up posters there claiming “the Syrians will leave”. “We will not turn Turkey into a migrant depot,” he said in Antakya on Tuesday.
A radical speech that appeals to 20-year-old Mehmet Aynci: “Before the earthquake, if you were looking for an apartment, you always came across a lot of Syrians,” he says.
“Of course they have to leave,” says Attila the Celtic, who hasn’t even left his deserted city.
“Soon they will claim our land”, he predicted, “we are worried”.
– “Let’s go if necessary” –
Hatay Province, some districts of which are very liberal, gave Kilikdaroglu a slight advantage in the first round.
The opposition candidate’s potential success will partly depend on the number of survivors who have settled far from the disaster zone, traveling again on Sunday to visit and vote for a second time.
About 1.7 million displaced persons have retained their registration in the electoral rolls of the affected provinces.
For Sema Cicek, whose anger against Erdogan was just as strong as thousands of people slowly dying under the rubble, without help, it is imperative that they return.
“Walk if necessary but don’t leave your land”, launched this 65-year-old man, accusing Erdogan of “burying us alive”.
Some of that anger also spread to social media, where people in quake-hit areas were blamed for supporting Erdogan.
“It really touched us,” admitted Ahmet Gulildizoglu’s daughter, Hatice.
– “Anti-Turk” –
Erdogan reassured voters in the affected areas by promising new homes for the beginning of next year – “maybe a little later” for those in Antakya.
Kiliçdaroglu tried to do the same on Tuesday, saying that “no one should doubt” his ability to rebuild the region.
Hakan Tiriyaki, the provincial leader of his party CHP, denied allegations that the opposition in the region had not been heard enough before the first round.
He said that vigorous campaigning could give an impression that the opposition was trying to take advantage of the misery of the people.
And it won’t be enough to change Omer Edip Aslantas’ mind: a former left-wing sympathizer, the 50-year-old believes “the Turkish left is not what it used to be”. “She has become anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim.”