Turkey’s opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has pledged to start the accountability of 20 years of Erdogan’s unaccountable era if he wins the presidential election on Sunday.
Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, said he would restore parliamentary democracy and end the presidential system that he said has given Erdogan too much power and led to corruption, authoritarianism and economic crisis.
“Erdogan has been ruling this country for 20 years without any accountability. He has wasted the public resources, violated the constitution, oppressed the people and isolated Turkey from the world,” Kilicdaroglu said at his final rally in Ankara on Friday.
“He thinks he is above the law and above the people. But we will not let him get away with his crimes. We will bring him to justice and we will make him pay for what he has done to this country,” he added.
Kilicdaroglu, a former civil servant and accountant, has emerged as a serious challenger to Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics since 2003. The latest polls show Kilicdaroglu slightly ahead of Erdogan, who is seeking a third term as president.
Kilicdaroglu has also promised to improve Turkey’s relations with its allies in NATO and the European Union, as well as with its neighbors in the Middle East. He said he would pursue a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the conflicts in Syria and Libya, where Turkey has been militarily involved under Erdogan.
“We will end Erdogan’s adventurism and warmongering. We will make Turkey a respected and trusted partner in the world again. We will work for peace and stability in our region and beyond,” he said.
Kilicdaroglu’s supporters have expressed hope that he will bring about a change in Turkey’s political system and culture. They said they are fed up with Erdogan’s divisive and polarizing rhetoric and policies.
The presidential election on Sunday will be a crucial test for Turkey’s future direction. More than 58 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in what is expected to be a tight race between Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan.