Erdogan’s Election Prospects Take a Hit as a Challenger Drops Out

Three days before Turks vote in crucial presidential elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chances of securing a swift victory took a hit on Thursday when one of his challengers left the race, a move likely to benefit Mr. Erdogan’s main competitor.

The withdrawal of one of the race’s four contenders also increased the possibility that the main opposition candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, could obtain a simple majority of votes on Sunday, a win that would suddenly end Mr. Erdogan’s 20-year streak as Turkey’s most prominent politician.

The simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections will set the future course for Turkey, a major economy at the intersection of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and a NATO ally of the United States.

Opponents of Mr. Erdogan also view the elections as a make or break moment for Turkish democracy. A win for Mr. Erdogan, they say, would enable a leader who has extended his control over much of the state to gain even more power, whereas…

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This article was written by Ben Hubbard and originally published on