Turkey heads to the polls with Erdogan looking to stay in power

Turkey headed to the polls on Sunday to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, in a process that could unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power. 

Erodgan, who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and president since then, is described by The Economist as ruling Turkey in an “increasingly autocratic style,” and is often seen as one of the world’s most notable strongmen. However, polls show many Turks are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their decades-long ruler, and this election could represent Erdogan’s greatest threat to power yet. 

The turning point for public opinion seemed to be the devastating earthquakes in Turkey this past February that left thousands dead. Erdogan’s government was blamed for a lackluster response and recovery effort that may have led to additional deaths, and other issues such as a 50 percent inflation rate and crackdowns on press freedoms have continued to turn people against the president. 

Erdogan’s main opponent is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the country’s Republican People’s Party. Kılıçdaroğlu is backed by a coalition of six political parties rallying around him. This is the first time since Erdogan came to power that a candidate has received this type of bipartisan support, CNN reported. 

If Kılıçdaroğlu is able to oust Erodgan, Turkey’s change in power could cause a domino effect across the globe. While Turkey is a member of NATO, the country has seen increased tensions with Europe during Erdogan’s tenure, and the president is also a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The New York Times noted that it is an open secret most European leaders “would be delighted” if Erdogan lost. 

Erdogan has pledged a peaceful transition of power if he loses, saying he “will consider any outcome at the ballot box as legitimate” and do “whatever democracy requires.”

Turkey headed to the polls on Sunday to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, in a process that could unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power.  Erodgan, who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and president since then, is described by The Economist as ruling Turkey in an “increasingly autocratic style,” and is…

Turkey headed to the polls on Sunday to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, in a process that could unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power.  Erodgan, who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and president since then, is described by The Economist as ruling Turkey in an “increasingly autocratic style,” and is…