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“If our nation has chosen for a second round, that is also welcome.” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
“We will absolutely win the second round … and bring democracy.” Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu
. “… I am announcing it here – as soon as I come to power, I will send all refugees home. Period.” Kemal Kilicdaroglu

Erdogan faces run-off in Turkish president elections as hostility to migrants grows
TURKEY’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been forced into a runoff with his main rival, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after a tight presidential election race in Turkey.
Ahmet Yener, the head of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Board, said the presidential race will go to a second round on May 28 after Erdogan fell just short of an outright victory.
With the unofficial count nearly complete, support for Erdogan, who ruled Turkey for 20 years with an increasingly authoritarian grip, dipped below the majority required to win re-election outright.
Erdogan had 49.5% of the vote while Kilicdaroglu had 44.8%. A candidate needs to secure 50% of votes to avoid the runoff.
Voters in Turkey were largely concerned about domestic issues such as the economy, civil rights and a February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people even as Western nations and investors also awaited the outcome. 
Turkey’s main benchmark stock index fell more than 6% in early trading Monday as investors absorbed the uncertain election results, before recovering to trade about 2.5% down.
The election could determine if a NATO ally that straddles Europe and Asia but borders Syria and Iran remains under Erdogan’s control. 
He has raised the country’s profile internationally but also eroded its democratic institutions and implemented unorthodox economic policies that have rocked the nation’s economy. Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. 
Kilicdaroglu has promised to restore stability to Turkey’s economy, foster better relations with the US and other Western allies and return the country to a more democratic path. He would also likely put the mostly Muslim nation on a more secular course compared to Erdogan.
Both sides have projected confidence that they can win the runoff.
“If our nation has chosen for a second round, that is also welcome,” Erdogan, 69, said and noted that votes from Turkish citizens living abroad still need to be tallied. He garnered 60% of the overseas vote in 2018.
“We will absolutely win the second round … and bring democracy” Kilicdaroglu, 74, the candidate of a six-party alliance, said as he argued that Erdogan had lost the trust of a nation now demanding change.
However, one US-based academic in Middle East history and politics, said Erdogan would probably have an advantage in a runoff because the president’s party was likely to do better in a parliamentary election.
Voters would not want a divided government, the academic said.
Meanwhile, Kilicdaroglu has promised to send “10 million refugees” home if he wins the runoff as he shifts to a sharply more anti-migrant tone to try to win nationalist votes and defeat President Erdogan.
Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, accused the government of allowing an exaggerated 10 million “irregular” migrants to enter the country.
The economist and bureaucrat warned that migrant numbers in Turkey (population 85 million) could rise to 30 million but provided no evidence for those figures.
Kilicdaroglu also claimed that Erdogan “did not protect (Turkey’s) borders and honour”.
“You knowingly brought more than 10 million refugees to this country,” Kilicdaroglu said. “… I am announcing it here – as soon as I come to power, I will send all refugees home. Period.”
Syrians began fleeing to Turkey and other nations starting in 2011 when President Bashar al-Assad crushed an uprising against his rule and caused war to break out.
Turkey has taken in more Syrian refugees than any other country. About 3.6 million are registered in the country.
Turks in general welcomed the refugees initially but the country is experiencing an economic crisis as the value of the lira has plunged and inflation surged, causing resentment to grow against Syrians and other refugee and migrant populations. 
Nationalists have seized on the economic crisis and Turkey’s relatively welcoming policy towards refugees to attack the government.
Kilicdaroglu’s comments set off debates on social media.
Turkish authorities have already caught nearly 50,600 undocumented immigrants this year as of May 11 after arresting 285,000 in 2022, according to Ministry of Interior data.


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