“The most prominent potential candidates”… the Turkish opposition is looking for a “hero” to defeat Erdogan

An unprecedented economic crisis, increasing poverty, crushing inflation, a fall in the currency rate, and a steady rise in the prices of goods and services. For these reasons, the popularity of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declined, at a time when the opposition is searching for a “hero” to win the presidential elections and solve the country’s problems.

A report by the Financial Times spoke of the most prominent candidates for the presidential elections that will be held next year.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Can Kemal Kilicdaroglu beat Erdogan in the elections?

CHP leader Kilicdaroglu is leading a disparate coalition of six parties in the June 2023 elections, hoping to oust Erdogan.

In previous statements, Davutoglu, 73, said he was fighting a “big battle” against the growing poverty, crushing inflation and painful injustice sweeping the country.

As the election date approaches, he has demanded that unnamed rivals within his alliance either join him or stay out of his way.

The Financial Times says Turkey’s economy and growing concern about the country’s 3.6 million Syrian refugees may offer Erdogan’s rivals the best chance ever of winning.

“Conditions are ripe for a historic change. The ruling party is divided, the opposition is united, the economic situation is getting worse,” says Berk Essen, visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

On the other hand, some opposition voices fear Kılıçdaroğlu’s insistence on his candidacy to compete with Erdogan, considering that the Turkish president will “devour him alive.”

A senior official from one of the five other opposition parties working alongside the CHP says Kılıçdaroğlu is “dying to run”.

“I have no doubts that he will be the best president of all potential candidates, but he has the slightest chance of winning,” he added.

A woman walks past election campaign posters for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on June 10, 2011. Turkey will...

Erdogan imposed unprecedented control over Turkish institutions

Mansur Yavas

Mansur Yavas, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party, casts his ballot accompanied by his wife...

Yavas managed to achieve high acceptance rates in the capital, Ankara.

Yavas, 66, the current mayor of Ankara, has managed to achieve high acceptance rates in the capital, Ankara, by focusing relentlessly on improving public services.

His supporters say he is conservative and nationalist, but also conservative and statesman, factors that may enable him to appeal to Erdogan’s voters.

He can oversee the opposition’s plan to abolish Erdogan’s presidential system of government in 2018 and restore the parliament’s role.

Commenting on this, the former ruling party parliamentarian, Suat Kiniklioglu, who ran one of Yavas’s previous election campaigns, said, “He could be a great figure to go down in history as the man who brought Turkey back to normal order,” adding, “He would be willing to play this role.” .

“Imamoglu” .. the strongest candidate

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu speaks during a press conference in the main opposition Republican People's Party...

Imamoglu “may be the strongest candidate to confront Erdogan”

Most political analysts see Imamoglu, 51, the mayor of Istanbul, as the most likely candidate to confront Erdogan.

“He is famous, young, energetic,” says Carkoglu, professor of political science at Koç University in Istanbul.

“He can deal with Erdogan, and Erdogan will look old against him,” he added.

Imamoglu has gained experience running in disputed elections, where the opposition fears Erdogan will use disingenuous tactics to try to cling to power.

In 2019, Imamoglu was narrowly elected mayor of Istanbul, but Erdogan annulled the election results, claiming fraud, before Imamoglu won the runoff by an overwhelming majority.

But the mayor’s opponents claim he is “too ambitious” to be trusted with the task of dismantling the presidential system that Erdogan has built for himself.

Meral Aksener.. is satisfied with the post of Prime Minister

IYI (Good) party leader Meral Aksener speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Kagla ...

Meral Aksener will play a decisive role in choosing Erdogan’s potential rival.

Meral Aksener, the leader of the opposition Turkish Good Party, will play a crucial role in choosing Erdogan’s potential challenger.

She has also ruled out running for the presidency, saying that she “would prefer to be prime minister in a future opposition government.”

According to the Financial Times, there are indications that she would prefer to support Imamoglu, but she must make complex calculations about who can win and who may agree with her political ambitions.

The Kurds .. Who will they support?

A man holds a picture of Selahattin Demirtas as people gather outside Bakirkoy Court in Istanbul on January 12, 2018 in...

Selahattin Demirtaş is a prominent figure among Turkey’s Kurdish voters

A key consideration for winning the elections is the need to court Turkey’s large Kurdish minority, chiefly the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), says the Financial Times.

Selahattin Demirtaş, who ran in the 2018 presidential election from his prison cell, is a prominent figure among the country’s Kurdish voters.

He may choose to throw his weight behind a joint presidential candidate, increasing the opposition’s chances of winning over Erdogan, during the first round of elections, the newspaper predicts.

Earlier, Demirtaş indicated that his first choice would be Imamoglu.

The opposition has sought to delay the electoral process, but the head of the Metropol Research and Poll Agency, Ozer Sinkar, is concerned that “the opposition is wasting valuable time”.

“Erdogan may decide to call early elections in the fall, if he thinks the conditions are favorable enough,” he says.

A street vendor sells simit, a Turkish bread, during a protest against the government's economic policies, in Istanbul,...

Turkey is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis in two decades

Senkar warns the opposition against the delay in starting the election campaign, and demands it to put in place an economic program that will convince the public that they can fix the crippled economy.