Opposition parties in Turkey are joining forces to replace President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and force early elections next year, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
“The leaders of six opposition parties appear to have agreed on turning the next election into a kind of referendum on the presidential system that Erdogan introduced four years ago and considers one of his proudest achievements,” the NYT reported.
Erdogan’s opponents want to challenge his 19-year rule and what they describe as his “authoritarian power”, and work towards a return to a parliamentary system.
The Turkish opposition aims to change the presidential system to battle the rampant corruption, Erdogan’s monetary policy, control over the courts and to free the tens of thousands of political prisoners.
Turkey’s economy has been struggling with a soaring inflation rate and a downward spiral of its currency’s value.
In addition, Erdogan’s aggressive foreign policy hasn’t won him any battles on the international stage. His pursuit of Russian weapons systems has put him at odds with the US which has already voiced its concerns over Turkey’s human rights record.
Erdogan has also pulled Turkey into foreign crises around the world, such as backing a faction in Libya’s civil war, taking Azerbaijan’s side in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and arming opposition fighters in Syria.
“Political analysts suggest that not only is he determined to secure another presidential term in elections that are due before June 2023, but also to secure his legacy as modern Turkey’s longest-serving leader, longer even than the founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,” the NYT said.
Erdogan has been steadily sliding in the opinion polls, as the public struggles with an economic crisis, rampant government corruption and a younger generation yearning for change.
Metropoll, a polling organization, revealed this week that for the first time in several years, more respondents said Erdogan would lose an election rather than win.