Turkey election: Rival says he will repatriate refugees
Nuray Lydia Oglu, Kanako Mita, and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey faces Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the run-off election. Erdoğan obtained 49% of the vote – while his main challenger Kilicdaroglu won 45%. Accordingly, Kilicdaroglu is turning to renewed nationalism to build the bridge.
The decisive second-round vote will take place on May 28. Hence, Kilicdaroglu is seeking to attack weaknesses within the Erdoğan camp.
In Turkey, millions of refugees and migrants – similar to Lebanon – have fled to the country. At the same time, Turkey and Lebanon face major economic problems concerning the cost of living and limited resources. Therefore, Kilicdaroglu is promising to repatriate all refugees if he is elected.
Reuters reports, “Sinan Ogan, a nationalist politician endorsed by an anti-refugee party obtained 5.2%, which made him a kingmaker in the runoff vote.”
Kilicdaroglu is hoping to win over these voters – and appeal to some less loyal Erdoğan voters who equally worry about the cost of living and the sizeable numbers of refugees in Turkey.
Kilicdaroglu said: “Erdogan, you have deliberately allowed 10 million refugees to Turkey. You even put Turkish citizenship on sale to get imported votes.”
He continued, “I am announcing here: I will send all refugees back home once I am elected as president, period.”
Kilicdaroglu had already said he would repatriate Syrians before the election. However, the speed of repatriations – including all refugees – means Kilicdaroglu is stepping up the nationalist angle to appeal to voters.
Roughly 4 million refugees reside in Turkey.
It remains to be seen if this will be enough for Kilicdaroglu to defeat Erdoğan in the run-off.
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