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President Erdogan Faces Challenge from More Liberal Kilicdaroglu as Turks Reel from Earthquake

HeadlineMay 10, 2023

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, have held massive rallies ahead of crucial elections this Sunday that could see the end of Erdogan’s rule after more than two decades in power. President Erdogan announced Tuesday his government is raising its workers’ salaries by 45% in a bid to counter voter concerns over the country’s ailing economy amid soaring inflation. Erdogan is also facing continued backlash over his response to the catastrophic February earthquake and damning reports of lax building regulations and neglecting warnings about the safety of structures.

Mehmet Genc: “Let’s talk the truth here now. My whole family is gone. They are all deceased. Why wouldn’t I be angry against the government? No machinery came to help. Nothing did.”

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is backed by a multiparty alliance, has vowed to pursue closer ties with NATO and the EU, and reinforce democratic institutions like independent courts and a free press. He also said he would reverse Erdogan’s dissolution of the position of prime minister in the 2017 constitutional referendum.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu: “We are not going to leave the fate of the Turkish Republic in the hand of one person, and no one will accept the words of just one person.”

Conservative President Erdogan has also appealed to his religious base, accusing his opponent of being “pro-LGBT” at an Istanbul rally Sunday.

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