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Turkey – Opposition agrees to rival Erdogan

A few days after a falling out in Turkey, an alliance against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been reunited for the time being. Surprisingly, the head of the conservative nationalist Ii party, Meral Aksener, attended a meeting with five other parties in Ankara on Monday, although she only ended cooperation with them on Friday. Passers-by applauded as she arrived for the session.

Now the alliance has also approved a joint candidate for the presidential elections in May. The alliance is sending the leader of the Republican People’s Party, the largest opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, into a race against the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as announced by the leader of the Felicity Party, Tamil Karamollaoglu, on Monday evening in Ankara. Opinion polls indicate a close election result.

Meral Aksener is part of the alliance again.

– © AFP

Karamolaoglu declared, “Kemal Kilicdaroglu is our presidential candidate,” in the presence of the leaders of the other five parties, including Kilicdaroglu. “We would have doomed ourselves if we separated,” Kilicdaroglu, 68, told supporters in Ankara after the announcement. He promised to lead the country “on the basis of consultations and compromises” if Erdogan wins the elections. “Law and justice will prevail,” he added.

The alliance could not agree on a common candidate for a long time. In the past few days there have been indications of the coalition collapsing. Five parties wanted to send Kilicdaroglu into the race against Erdogan. On the other hand, the leader of the nationalist Iyi Party, Meral Aksener, favored the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, also belonging to the Social Democratic Republican People’s Party.

The two mayors announced over the weekend that they support their party’s leader’s candidacy. Then Imamoglu and Yavas met Aksener on Monday to persuade her to continue supporting the six opposition party alliance.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey are scheduled for May 14 – a good three months after the devastating earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border region that claimed more than 45 thousand lives in Turkey alone. Erdogan is seeking another term. The opposition accuses him, among other things, of not adequately preparing the country for earthquakes. The disintegration of the opposition coalition would have been in Erdogan’s interest.

Even before the earthquake disaster struck, the president, who had been in charge of the country for 20 years, had to deal with a number of crises at the same time. His economic policies created an inflationary spiral that sent prices up 85 percent last year. In addition, his government is fighting allegations of friendliness and corruption. (apa/dpa)

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