(Istanbul) Eleven days and some catching up to do: the Turkish opposition, which narrowly missed being beaten in the first round of the presidential election on Sunday, wants to raise its voice in an attempt to dislodge Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power on May 28 .
Its candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP, social democrat), is due to meet on Wednesday with the five other leaders of the Turkish opposition alliance to define a more offensive strategy.
According to the Turkish press, Mr. Kiliçdaroglu has purged part of his team and will hand over the reins of his campaign to the very popular CHP mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu and to Canan Kaftancioglu, kingpin of Mr. Imamoglu’s victory in Istanbul in 2019, the worst electoral setback for the head of state since he became prime minister in 2003.
Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, a 74-year-old former senior civil servant, had so far led a very collegial campaign against President Erdogan, and developed his vision almost every evening in short videos posted on social networks, ignoring most of the attacks of the head of state.
This strategy seemed to work, as the polls showed Mr. Kiliçdaroglu in good shape.
But Sunday’s results had the effect of a cold shower. At the end of the vote count, President Erdogan has a comfortable lead of more than 2.5 million votes over his opponent, with 49.5% of the votes cast against 44.9% for Mr. Kiliçdaroglu.
The only consolation: the opposition managed for the first time to force the “Reis” into a tie.
” I am the ! I will fight until the end, I swear! Mr. Kiliçdaroglu launched Monday in a video, unusually closed face, tapping three times on his desk with the palm of his right hand.
“We will prevail for sure!” “, he hammered Wednesday in a new video showing him standing, with a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, in commander’s clothes.
“We will not leave this country to those who treat women as objects […] We will not leave this country to a fake world leader who bows to Russia,” he said.
“We will not abandon this country to a mentality that has let in 10 million refugees,” he also said in a harsher tone than usual, like an appeal to the electorate. nationalist.
For Messrs. Kiliçdaroglu and Erdogan, one of the challenges between the two rounds will indeed be to seduce the 2.8 million voters who voted for the ultranationalist candidate Sinan Ogan in the first round.
The third presidential man should announce this week if he supports one of the two finalists.
President Erdogan has resumed his taunts against the opposition, castigating “the comedy” played according to him Sunday evening by the camp of his opponent, who had disputed the first results.
To “not lose even a vote of the 49.5%” collected on Sunday, his “priority” as he said on Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan is planning a trip this weekend to the earthquake-devastated southeastern region. of February 6, which left more than 50,000 dead and millions displaced.
Despite the anger of some of the survivors, who accused the state of having been slow to intervene, the head of state kept his very high scores in the region in the first round.
Mr. Erdogan also wants to address young voters in Istanbul and Ankara, the two largest cities in the country, where Mr. Kiliçdaroglu narrowly came out on top in the first round.
On Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced the extension of the agreement on the cereal corridor via the Black Sea, crucial for the world’s food supply. Russian President Vladimir “Putin offers Erdogan another diplomatic victory before the second round”, noted on Twitter Emre Peker, of the think tank Eurasia group.