Ankara (Caasimada Online) – Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan declared that his ruling AK Party and its nationalist partner would stick to their plans for the upcoming national election, despite the opposition bloc’s split over who should run against him.
Erdogan said, “Whatever they do, we continue to work on our plan, on our roadmap,” adding that the split was expected.
The opposition alliance’s division, which occurred on Friday, is considered a major setback for opposition efforts to oust Erdogan, who has held power for 20 years.
Erdogan: 20 years in power
Turkey is a parliamentary democracy with a president as its head of state. Erdogan has been the country’s leader since 2014, serving as prime minister and president. He has led his party to a majority in parliamentary elections.
His leadership has been marked by controversy, including allegations of authoritarianism and corruption.
Erdogan’s popularity has decreased in recent years due to rising living costs.
He has been criticized for his government’s handling of natural disasters, such as the recent earthquakes that killed over 45,000 people.
Opposition alliance’s split
The opposition alliance comprises five political parties and has been plagued by internal disagreements for months. The coalition includes
- The center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP).
- The center-right Good Party (IYI).
- The Islamist Felicity Party (SP).
- The Democrat Party (DP).
- The conservative Democrat Party of the Centre (DCP).
The alliance was formed in 2018 to challenge Erdogan’s parliament dominance and unseat him in the upcoming presidential election.
Meral Aksener, the leader of the IYI Party, announced on Friday that her party was leaving the opposition alliance due to disagreements over who should run against Erdogan.
Aksener accused the other parties of pressuring her party and disregarding the people’s will.
She proposed Mansur Yavas and Ekrem Imamoglu, the CHP mayors of Ankara and Istanbul, respectively, as candidates.
In contrast, five parties in the alliance suggested Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP leader, as their candidate. The CHP has the largest voter base in the alliance, followed by the IYI Party.
Kilicdaroglu stated there was no room for political games in the alliance and suggested that other parties could join the bloc.
Erdem Aydin, the founder of the London-based RDM Advisory, remarked that the best hope for the opposition is to keep Erdogan below 50% in the first round of voting and display unity in the second round.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a significant participant in the effort to defeat Erdogan, urged the opposition to unite around democratic values such as justice and freedom.
Erdogan’s waning popularity
Erdogan’s declining popularity has been exacerbated by a rising cost of living crisis and his government’s handling of natural disasters.
Despite previous attempts by the opposition to unseat him, Erdogan has remained in power.
The opposition has grown more cohesive since winning major cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, from the AK Party in 2019’s local elections.