ISTANBUL.- The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party predicted Saturday that voters who backed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the past would “side with democracy” instead of a “dictatorship” during the next elections in June.
Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said he is confident of ousting Erdogan from office by winning the snap parliamentary and presidential elections “with at least 60 percent of votes” even though the party lagged in past votes.
But the 69-year-old politician’s optimism has weak spots. Though Kilicdaroglu says the pro-secular party, known as CHP, wasn’t “surprised” by this week’s announcement of early elections and ready to compete, it has yet to put forward a presidential candidate, a campaign plan or potential alliances.
Erdogan, meanwhile, has worked to consolidate his base for months with speeches and events, bolstered by rising nationalism amid Turkey’s military operation in Syria against a Kurdish stronghold.