Türkiye’s presidential election, opposition candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, appealed to young voters on Tuesday to support him in the May 28 run-off, as he seeks to prevent the president’s rule from extending the NATO member state into a third decade.
Kılıçdaroğlu who took 45% of the vote in Sunday’s ballot while Erdoğan got 49.5%, just short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off.
The vote is seen as a referendum on Erdoğan’s rule.
Turkish assets fell for a second day, especially government bonds, corporate bonds and bank stocks, as investors expect Erdoğan to win another five-year term and continue his unconventional economic policies.
Nevertheless, Kılıçdaroğlu, 74, is seeking to rally his supporters, many of whom are now frustrated, by trying to point a positive side to the outcome.
He wrote in a series of tweets addressed to those he described as the dear youth, “A message of change appeared from the ballot box… Those who want change in this country are now more than those who don’t,” he said, referring to Erdoğan’s failure to obtain 50%.
In parliamentary elections held at the same time, the People’s Alliance of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party and nationalist and Islamist parties won as many as 322 of the 600 seats in the new parliament.
The president thus achieved a majority that would enable him to say that voting for him would ensure stability.
Kılıçdaroğlu is trying to woo young voters by pointing to the cost of living crisis, which has worsened in Türkiye as a result of Erdoğan’s insistence on lowering interest rates, which has caused a sharp drop in the value of the Turkish currency and high inflation.
He told them, “You don’t have enough money for anything… The joy of life has been taken away from you… While young people should be free from anxiety”.
“You’ll never get your youth back… We’ve 12 days to get out of this dark tunnel,” he added.
The vote is being watched closely in Washington, Europe and across the region as Erdğoan consolidates his country’s strength.
He also strengthened ties with Russia, straining Ankara’s traditional alliance with the United States.
On the other hand, the nationalist candidate, Sinan Oğan, came third in the presidential elections, with 5.2% of the vote.
The selection of his supporters on the 28th of this month will be a major focus now.
Oğan said in an interview with Reuters on Monday that he could only support Kılıçdaroğlu in the run-off if he agreed not to make concessions to a pro-Kurdish party, which is in Erdoğan’s interest.
That party, referring to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, supports Kılıçdaroğlu, but he is accused of having links with Kurdish militants, while the party denies this.
Pre-election polls showed Erdoğan, 69, trailing Kılıçdaroğlu.
However, the results showed that Erdoğan and his party succeeded in mobilizing conservative voters despite the economic crisis.
Kılıçdaroğlu and his alliance want to restore the parliamentary system of government and abolish the strong presidential system introduced by Erdoğan.
The Justice and Development Party ranked first in the parliamentary elections, with 267 deputies winning seats in the parliament, followed by the secular Republican People’s Party led by Kılıçdaroğlu, with 169 seats, while the pro-Kurdish party won sixty-one seats.