Erdogan’s ‘polar reverse’ desires to switch him as president of Turkey

Editor’s Note: A model of this story first appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile within the Middle East publication, a three-times-a-week look contained in the area’s largest tales. Sign up right here.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Turkey’s opposition on Monday introduced Kemal Kilicdaroglu because the presidential candidate to run towards two-decade ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an upcoming election that would change the course of the nation.

Leader of Turkey’s secular and center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kilicdaroglu (pronounced Ke-lich-dar-ou-loo) is extensively seen as every thing Erdogan shouldn’t be. He was lastly nominated after three days of political bickering among the many six-party alliance – simply three months earlier than the vote.

His much-awaited choice additionally got here after sturdy criticism of the opposition bloc for his or her delay in selecting their frontrunner, which analysts stated could have bolstered Erdogan’s possibilities.

Perhaps crucial election in Turkey’s trendy historical past, the vote is anticipated to happen on May 14.

It comes simply months after a lethal February 6 earthquake rocked the nation’s southeast, killing greater than 50,000 individuals in Turkey and Syria. It additionally falls amid hovering inflation and a forex disaster that final yr noticed almost 30% slashed off the lira’s worth towards the greenback.

Erdogan, who turned 69 final month, is hoping to increase his energy nicely into a 3rd decade. And whereas the AK Party chief is right this moment dealing with the fiercest opposition but to his rule, polls counsel a really tight race between him and the CHP candidate even after final month’s earthquake induced widespread disgruntlement in his strongholds.

But who’s the marginally older, bespectacled contender hoping to interrupt Erdogan’s 20-year grip on energy?

A lawmaker representing the CHP since 2002 – the identical yr that noticed Erdogan’s AK Party rise to energy – Kilicdaroglu, 74, climbed up the political ladder to turn into his celebration’s seventh chairman in 2010.

Born within the jap, Kurdish-majority province of Tunceli, the celebration chief ran in Turkey’s 2011 common election however misplaced, coming second to Erdogan and his AK Party.

Kilicdaroglu represents the celebration shaped 100 years in the past by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding father of recent Turkey and a die-hard secularist. He stands in stark distinction to Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted celebration and its conservative base.

Despite his secular leanings, nonetheless, the opposition candidate and his alliance have vowed to signify all factions of Turkish society, which analysts say was demonstrated in his numerous coalition.

The opposition bloc’s roadmap has been clear in its purpose to reverse Erdogan’s presidential system, shifting in direction of a extra inclusive parliamentary system the place the president’s function holds much less energy.

“There will no longer be a centralization of power at the hands of the president,” stated Mehmet Karli, coordinator of the Program on Contemporary Turkey on the European Studies Centre at Oxford University.

“The presidency will become a symbolic office and Turkey will revert back to the parliamentary democracy that it was since 1921,” Karli, who can be a long-term adviser to Kilicdaroglu, instructed CNN.

Kilicdaroglu stands for a extra “pluralist Turkish identity,” stated Karli, the place freedoms and liberties are cherished.

Sometimes known as “Ghandhi Kemal” for each his bodily resemblance to India’s Mahatma Ghandhi in addition to his humble decorum, Kilicdaroglu is seen as Erdogan’s polar reverse, analysts say.

Read also  Fear of China has U.S. and allies beefing up defenses within the Pacific

“Kemal Kilicdaroglu is everything President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not,” Gonul Tol, founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Turkey program in Washington, DC, instructed CNN’s Becky Anderson on Tuesday. “Erdogan is a rightwing, populist firebrand who has dismantled the country’s institutions to establish his one-man rule.”

“He has little regard for expertise or liberal democratic values,” she stated, including that whereas Kilicdaroglu shouldn’t be as charismatic, “he wants to rebuild the country’s institutions, diffuse power and rule with consultations and compromise.”

While each Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan hail from humble socio-economic backgrounds, “they evolved to be completely different creatures,” says Murat Somer, a political science professor at Koc University in Istanbul.

Symbolically, “Erdogan is the shopkeeper, Kilicdaroglu is the bureaucrat,” stated Somer, referring to Erdogan’s businessman-like strategy, versus that of Kilicdaroglu, who Somer says is extra dedicated to process.

“Kilicdaroglu will try to fight corruption and also bring past corruptions to justice,” he stated.

Kilicdaroglu is anticipated to have a softer and extra predictable strategy towards the West, analysts say, as he is not going to be appearing unilaterally however by establishments.

“Kilicdaroglu is a strong believer that Turkey belongs in the West,” stated Karli, his adviser.

If the West desires a relationship with Turkey that’s primarily based on “shared values,” says Somer, then they’re very prone to expertise a a lot better partnership beneath Kilicdaroglu, whose values, he stated, are a lot nearer to these of the West and the European Union.

Conflicts with overseas powers are nonetheless certain to happen, he continued, as Turkey has its personal nationwide pursuits which Kilicdaroglu and the opposition are additionally eager to protect.

“But it will defend these interests with a different discourse and with a different approach,” Somer stated, including that Kilicdaroglu’s overseas coverage is prone to depend on Western alliances.

Erdogan’s overseas coverage has usually been described as “combative” and “personal,” which the opposition could change to turn into extra institutional, predictable and primarily based on gentle energy, Somer stated.

Turkey’s friendship with Russia might also witness change, specialists say. A detailed pal of Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been clear to help his Turkish counterpart.

Karli says that Kilicdaroglu will name out Russia for its violation of worldwide legislation, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, whereas sustaining a balancing function between Moscow and Turkey’s Western allies.

In the Middle East, the place Erdogan has for months been pledging a brand new incursion into northern Syria amid his struggle with Kurdish militants, Kilicdaroglu’s strategy is anticipated to be a lot much less interventionist, specialists say.

Kilicdaroglu is a follower of Ataturk’s maxim, says Karli, that “unless a nation’s life faces peril, war is murder.”

This yr’s election presents an unprecedented state of affairs the place one candidate, Erdogan, is operating towards a coalition of events that haven’t historically seen eye-to-eye on ideology, analysts say.

Somer, of Koc University, sees Kilicdaroglu’s strategy to operating in a coalition as a possible energy.

Kilicdaroglu and the 2 vice presidents he has named are the three hottest leaders within the nation, stated Tol. “If they run as a team, this will certainly broaden the appeal of the opposition coalition,” she stated.

Read also  How China helps to prop up the Russian financial system by means of the conflict in Ukraine

The subsequent three months will outline Turkey’s future. And whereas many critics anticipated the earthquake to impression Erdogan’s reelection possibilities, polls point out that the federal government shouldn’t be prone to lose as many votes because the opposition anticipated, Ozer Sencar, chairman of MetroPOLL, a Turkish polling agency, instructed CNN.

“After the earthquake, Erdogan’s popularity decreased by only 1 point, while Kilicdaroglu’s popularity decreased by 5 points,” he stated.

“All these data show that the losses of the government and Erdogan due to the earthquake are at a level that can be compensated.”

The race goes to be a good one, stated Somer.

“It will be a referendum between democracy and autocracy, not an election between two candidates,” he stated. “It will be an epic story.”

Iraq enforces seven-year-old ban on alcohol sale

Iraq has begun implementing a 2016 ban on alcoholic drinks, Reuters reported, citing the nation’s official gazette – a transfer some Iraqis attribute to the rising clout of Islamic non secular events that they worry is threatening social freedoms. Enforcement took impact seven years after the legislation’s passage by parliament.

  • Background: Under the legislation, imported alcoholic drinks are prohibited and can’t be offered in native markets, or changed by domestically manufactured variations. Border crossings and airport authorities have been ordered to confiscate any alcoholic drinks within the possession of vacationers. Licenses to promote alcohol have solely been issued to non-Muslims in Iraq and, whereas consuming in public shouldn’t be prohibited, it’s frowned upon. In the capital Baghdad, it’s not uncommon to see youths consuming on the banks of the Tigris River.
  • Why it issues: Analysts say non secular events exert extra affect within the present coalition authorities than latest predecessors. Iraq is a conservative, primarily Muslim society the place most women and men eschew alcohol, however it’s not an Islamic state, critics of the alcohol ban say. Still, Iraq’s stance on alcohol has lengthy been seen as comparatively liberal within the Islamic world in contrast with neighbors comparable to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the place possession of alcohol is outlawed.

At least 6 Palestinians killed in Israeli raid focusing on killer of settler brothers

At least six Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli navy raid into the Jenin refugee camp within the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health stated. The goal of the raid was Abdul-Fattah Hussein Kharousha, the Israel Defense Forces stated, calling him a “Hamas terrorist operative” and saying he was suspected of capturing two settler brothers within the Palestinian city of Huwara final week. Hamas in a while Tuesday claimed Kharousha, 49, as a member, and stated he had killed two Israeli settlers in Huwara.

  • Background: Brothers Hillel Yaniv, 21 and Yagel Yaniv, 19, have been shot as they drove by the Palestinian village of Huwara within the occupied West Bank on February 26. They lived within the close by Israeli settlement of Har Bracha. Their killing prompted settler mobs to rampage by the Palestinian city of Huwara final week, killing one Palestinian.
  • Why it issues: The raid is no less than the third to happen in daylight this yr. The earlier two – one in Jenin and one in Nablus – every resulted in 11 Palestinian fatalities, together with militants being focused by Israel, individuals clashing with the Israeli forces, and bystanders.
Read also  Iraqi PM guarantees motion to deal with crippling local weather change

Saudi overseas minister says Syria could return to Arab League

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud stated on Tuesday that it’s “too early to tell” if Syrian President Bashar Assad could be invited to the Arab League summit in Riyadh, however that engagement with Damascus is important “and that may well lead eventually to Syria returning” to the grouping. “There is consensus building in the Arab World that the status quo is not working,” Al-Saud instructed journalists at a press briefing on the Saudi embassy in London on Tuesday.

  • Background: Syria was largely remoted from the remainder of the Arab world following Assad’s lethal crackdown towards protests that erupted towards his rule in 2011. The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 and lots of Arab international locations pulled their envoys out of Damascus. Algeria hosted the primary Arab League summit since earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic in November, although Damascus stayed away after Algeria failed to influence different Arab states to finish Syria’s suspension.
  • Why it issues: Assad has benefited from an outpouring of help from Arab states following the devastating earthquake on Feb. 6, which killed 1000’s of Syrians. Saudi Arabia will host this yr’s Arab League summit.

In her sunlit portrait of the pole dancing teacher Nusaiba Al Maskari, the UK-born Omani photographer Eman Ali creates an arresting visible simile between the energy of Al Maskari’s physique and the Hajar Mountains within the background. Gracefully extending herself horizontally from her pole, she aligns with the peaks above Muscat, a single fluid line throughout the image airplane.

Ali, who at the moment works between Oman and Bahrain, started working towards pole dancing herself whereas residing in London years in the past. She wished to satisfy and {photograph} Al Maskari particularly after listening to in regards to the teacher’s non-public studio, Rock & Rhythm, she defined over e-mail.

“I am drawn to like-minded women who aren’t afraid to be themselves,” Ali stated.

Though pole dancing has turn into a well-liked type of health world wide over the previous twenty years, having such a studio within the Gulf nation is “highly unusual,” Ali defined.

“I admire her bravery in bringing a sport that celebrates female sensuality to a more conservative environment and am inspired by how she helps women feel confident and empowered by their body.”

The placing portrait is a part of Ali’s meditative sequence about life in Oman, “The Earth Would Die if the Sun Stopped Kissing Her,” a part of a world undertaking from the NFT platform Obscura by which almost 140 photographers documented modern life throughout the identical month.

Ali’s contribution, which she additionally exhibited on the worldwide truthful Paris Photo final fall, is a love letter to Oman’s land and other people, “highlighting the beauty, imperfections and strength” that bind us, she defined.

Read extra about Eman’s Ali’s work right here.

By Jacqui Palumbo

A merchant sorts through desert truffles at a stall in a market in the city of Hama in west-central Syria on Monday. Between February and April, hundreds of impoverished Syrians search for

Correction: This article has been up to date to make clear that Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu ran basically elections in 2011, not presidential elections.