Middle East

Vox Pops: Turkey weighs in ahead of election

Turkish voters in Istanbul and Izmir tell Al Jazeera who they will vote for in presidential polls on August 10.

Last updated: 08 Aug 2014 09:59
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A candidate must get over 50 percent of the vote to win outright or there will be a run-off on August 24 [Reuters]

Istanbul, Turkey - Turkey's 50 million voters are only a few days away from casting their ballots for the country's first directly elected president, in a poll that could reshape the future of the country.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 60, Turkey's outgoing prime minister and head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), is polling ahead of his two challengers. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 71, is the preferred candidate of the two main opposition parties in parliament, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is supported by the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP).

A candidate must win over 50 percent of the vote to be elected after the first round, or the vote will go to a run-off on August 24.

Erdogan, who is barred from running for prime minister for another term after spending over 10 years in power, wants to change Turkey's constitution to move from a parliamentary to a presidential system. The past year has seen Erdogan face the biggest challenges of his 11-year rule when mass anti-government protests broke out across Turkey. Erdogan is also facing a widespread corruption scandal, but his popularity remains strong after his party won local elections in March.

Critics accuse Erdogan of creeping authoritarianism and of pursuing an Islamist agenda. The AK Party leader has also gained a reputation for blistering rhetoric, causing rifts with other world leaders and coming under fire for his support for Syrian opposition groups.

Should Erdogan win the presidency, he is expected to appoint an interim prime minister and cabinet ahead of Turkish parliamentary elections in 2015.

Muradiye Aslan, 36, homemaker - Izmir

Muradiye Aslan [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

Erdogan doesn't follow the legacy of [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk [founder of the modern Turkish republic].

He's running a sectarian regime and it's not good for the country.

People are going to suffer from the loss of democracy and in our international reputation. 


Ahmet Berkhan, 69, retired mechanical engineer - Izmir

Ahmet Berkhan [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

My vote is for anybody that isn't Erdogan. I hate the man.

Most people in Turkey are on the right, but the majority of people really love Ataturk.

The CHP didn't choose their candidate from their own constituents; Ihsanoglu is not a nationalist and not a leftist, but it's possible he will take some of the votes from the right.

I was a very religious man but now I am not, because I don't accept what Erdogan has done to religion. He's a fanatic. He thinks he is the only man in the world.

Bayran Algul, 34, mechanical engineer - Izmir

Bayran Algul with his wife [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

Erdogan has a good record, from when he was Istanbul mayor until now. He is working for all [the people] in Turkey; whether you are Kurdish or Turkish, he works for all.

The economy is better. He supports the Syrian people and he doesn't support Israel.

I think the Gezi park protesters just wanted to make problems for Erdogan. They are troublemakers.

Iker Aydorgan, 47, construction worker - Istanbul

Iker Aydorgan [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

I love the prime minister and I trust him for our future. It's like a new Ottoman Empire.

It's very important that [Erdogan] is a pious man.

The Gezi Park protesters are being manipulated by Israel and the West.

Meryan Kilic, 65, textile worker - Istanbul

Meryan Kilic [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

People are dying in the Middle East and no one is speaking out about it except Erdogan.

All the European powers do nothing. We like that he is open about his opinions.

We are part of NATO but we still choose to stand next to these countries.

Rahim Bayran, 54, retired construction worker - Istanbul

Rahim Bayran [Lauren Williams/Al Jazeera]

Turkey is at its strongest point right now and we love Erdogan.

But it's not just the economy. We support every aspect, [including] his policy towards Syria and Gaza, as well.


Al Jazeera
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