Eighteen more candidates apply for Turkish presidential race

    REGION  22 March 2023 - 11:30

    The Turkish Supreme Electoral Council (CEC) has received applications from 18 candidates to run for president in addition to the two favourites Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

    These 18 contenders have submitted applications to the Supreme Election Board to compete for the highest office on May 14, offering insight into aspects of Turkish politics not usually seen by outside observers, according to Al Monitor.

    Among the better-known candidates are a former Maoist revolutionary who in recent years has become largely supportive of Erdogan; the son of Türkiye’s first Islamist prime minister; and a former member of Kilicdaroglu’s party who failed spectacularly when he stood for the presidency five years ago.

    Approved candidates include Dogu Perincek, head of the Motherland Party, Muharrem Ince, chairman of the Motherland Party, Sinan Ogan, a nominee of the Ataturkist Alliance, and Fatih Erbakan, chairman of the New Welfare Party.

    Perincek’s political outlook appears odd to foreign observers, blending socialism with nationalism. The party espouses opposition to the United States and the West, preferring ties with China and Russia. As such, “Eurasianist” former military commanders who share opposition to NATO have joined the party.

    Fatih Erbakan is the 44-year-old son of one of the most influential figures in modern Turkish politics. Necmettin Erbakan was the founder of the National Vision movement from which Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) stems.

    Another familiar face running for office is Muharrem Ince, who represented Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the 2018 presidential race. He split from the CHP two years ago to form the Memleket (Homeland) Party, which he says embodies the Kemalist principles ignored by the CHP as it tries to appeal to a wider base.

    After filing his candidacy application on March 20, Ince, a 58-year-old former physics teacher, claimed to have 30 per cent support among voters and said he would win the second round of the election - which will be held two weeks after the first round if no candidate receives more than half the vote - with 60 per cent of the ballots.

    Such bombastic enthusiasm, however, may not sit well with those who remember election night in 2018.

    The culmination of a promising campaign saw Ince vow to protect ballot boxes from interference until the early hours if necessary. But when Erdogan won outright in the first round, polling 52.6 per cent to Ince’s 30.6 per cent, he vanished from public view, only acknowledging his defeat to a journalist via WhatsApp. His disappearance even led to rumours that he had been held against his will.

    Caliber.Az

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