President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday called on the nation to open the door for the “Century of Türkiye” by voting for him in the second round of presidential elections on May 28.
“We believe that on May 28, we will stick to the ‘Century of Türkiye’ and continue our journey toward a great and powerful Türkiye,” Erdoğan wrote on social media.
He reiterated that he and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have kept their promises and brought many services to the people in all 81 provinces.
Calling on all citizens who prioritize the country and nation, Erdoğan continued: “Let’s open the doors of a new era in front of Türkiye together. Let’s raise the ‘Century of Türkiye’ together on our shoulders, just as we have made up the deficiencies of our country’s centuries-old democracy and development in 21 years.”
Two opposing visions are on the ballot when voters return to the polls Sunday for a runoff presidential election.
Millions of voters went to the polls on May 14 to elect the country’s president and members of its 600-seat Parliament.
Erdoğan’s People’s Alliance won a majority in Parliament, while the presidential race is headed to a second round on May 28.
Erdoğan will face Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and joint candidate for the six-party opposition Nation Alliance, in the runoff vote.
Erdoğan finished the first round with 49.52% of the vote, while Kilicdaroglu came second at 44.88%, and Sinan Oğan of the ATA Alliance got 5.17%. Oğan recently endorsed Erdoğan in the May 28 presidential runoff.
The 74-year-old former bureaucrat Kılıçdaroğlu has described the runoff as a referendum on the direction of the strategically located NATO country, which is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and has a key say over the alliance’s expansion.
In a bid to sway nationalist voters ahead of Sunday’s runoff, the normally soft-mannered Kılıçdaroğlu shifted gear and hardened his stance, vowing to send back millions of refugees if he is elected.
On Wednesday, the leader of a hard-line anti-migrant party that had backed Oğan threw its weight behind Kılıçdaroğlu after the two signed a protocol pledging to send back millions of migrants and refugees within the year “forcefully if necessary.”
He has also repeatedly called on 8 million people who stayed away from the polls in the first round to cast votes in the make-or-break runoff.
At 69, Erdoğan is already Türkiye’s longest-serving leader, having ruled over the country as prime minister since 2003 and president since 2014. He would remain in power until 2028 if reelected.
Erdoğan’s campaign has focused on rebuilding areas that were devastated by the earthquake, which leveled cities and left over 50,000 dead in Türkiye. He has promised to build 319,000 homes within the year.