Erdogan puts Turkiye on election mode

Published March 11, 2023
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announces the election decision in Ankara, Turkey March 10, 2023. — Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announces the election decision in Ankara, Turkey March 10, 2023. — Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned music from his campaign stops and vowed to heal the earthquake-stricken nation’s wounds as he formally set the next election for May 14.

Erdogan signed a decree over national television on Friday that kicks off campaigning for what is widely seen as Turkiye’s most consequential vote of its post-Ottoman history. It is also shaping into the most difficult of the 69-year-old leader’s two-decade rule.

Voters will face a stark choice between keeping Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party in power until 2028 or handing the reins back to the main secular party of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan said he would run under the slogan: “Now for Turkiye”.

But he set a sombre tone to the campaign season by banning music and instructing candidates from his party to contribute to the emergency service in charge of earthquake recovery work. “Our agenda during the election (campaign) will focus on efforts to heal the wounds of earthquake victims and to compensate for economic and social harm,” he said.

The six parties united behind secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu include die-hard nationalists and an Islamic party as well as more moderate voices who want to push Turkiye back on a more predictable course.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2023

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