ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Conservative Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a runoff with his main rival in two weeks that will decide who leads a country struggling with sky-high inflation and hosting Syrian refugees as it plays a key role in the Middle East and in NATO expansion.
Election officials said Monday that the May 28 second round will allow Turks to decide if their nation remains under the increasingly authoritarian president’s firm grip for a third decade, or if it can embark on the more democratic course promised by Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
The vote shows how Turkey has become extremely polarized, some voters commented.
“I am not happy at all,” voter Suzan Devletsah said. “I worry about the future of Turkey.”
Erdogan faced electoral headwinds due to a cost-of-living crisis and criticism over the government’s response to a devastating February earthquake.
The nationalist’s retreat was still less marked than predicted. But with his alliance retaining its hold on the parliament, he is now in a good position to win in the second round.