ISTANBUL: Turkey on Friday 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 rule until 2028 in Sunday’s runoff.
His victory would preserve the key NATO member’s reputation as a problem child that plays off rivalries between Moscow and Washington while pushing its own course in the Middle East.
Secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu presented a clear alternative to Erdogan in the first round on May 14.
The former civil servant ran an inclusive campaign that pledged to mend ties with Western allies and cure Turkey’s economic problems with orthodox prescriptions rejected by Erdogan.
Kilicdaroglu created a six-party alliance that grouped some of Turkey’s most irreconcilable forces and received the crucial support of Kurds.
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