Turkey's Erdogan, secular rival seek to extend Erdogan rule

Turkey's Erdogan, secular rival seek to extend Erdogan rule

T rkiye on May 26 entered the final stretch of a bitter presidential campaign that has seen Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his secular rival exploit fears about migrants and Kurdish militants.

Erdogan appears on course to extend two decades of his Islamic style of control until 2028 in Sunday's runoff.

He would safeguard the key NATO member's image as a problem child that plays off rivalries between Moscow and Washington while pushing its own course in the Middle East.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a spokesman for Turkish opposition, presented a clear alternative to Erdoan in the first round of the Turkish presidential election on May 14.

The former civil servant launched an inclusive campaign that promised to mend ties with Western allies and cure T rkiye's economic problems with orthodox prescriptions rejected by Erdogan.

Kilicdaroglu crafted a six-party alliance that reunited some of T rkiye's most irreconcilable forces and received the crucial support of the Kurds.

The kind of coalition that Erdogan used to build was the type of coalition that he won repeatedly in the polls.

But Kilicdaroglu still lost by more than five points in what was widely seen as Erdogan's toughest election, and the most significant in T rkiye's post-Ottoman history.

The 74-year-old opposition leader vanished from view for four days and then reappearing as a transformed man.

He dropped his calls for social cohesion in the polarized country and instead focused on expelling millions of migrants and fighting militants.

As soon as I come to power, I will send all the refugees home, he said in his first post-election address.

The president said he would respond to the same questions, with the same tone.